Children who live with both natural parents are happier

Children who live with both their biological parents have higher “life satisfaction”, and eating an evening meal together as a family is important, a major study has said.

The findings come from the Understanding Society study, a major survey which has questioned around 14,000 households.

The study found that: “not living with both natural parents has a greater negative impact on a young person’s life satisfaction than their material situation”.


The study said “life satisfaction is higher for those living with both their biological parents”.

It also reported that, “children who eat an evening meal with their family at least three times a week are substantially more likely to report being completely happy with their family situation than children who never eat with their family, or who eat together less than three times a week”.

According to the research, sixty per cent of young people say they are “completely satisfied” with their family situation, but children in lone-parent families were less likely to report themselves “completely happy” with their situation.


The study found that, “after controlling for a range of characteristics, cohabiting people are significantly less happy in their relationships than married people”.

Noting the importance of sleep, the report said that “married people report the best sleep, while the divorced/separated are most likely to report more problematic sleep”.

The Understanding Society study is a major piece of research which, over the coming years, will offer an insight into 40,000 UK households.

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