LONDON, July 23, 2001 ( – One of the largest surveys of teenagers has found that teenagers are twice as likely to engage in underage sex if their parents are separated or cohabiting rather than married. The survey of 2,000 teenagers aged 13-15 to be published tomorrow, by the Family Matters Institute and will be presented to the Lords and Commons Family and Child Protection Group of the British Parliament.

Dr Clifford Hill, one of the authors of the report, told the UK’s Observer that the number of children born to unmarried couples in Britain had risen from 5 per cent in 1960 to 10 per cent in 1980, and to 38 per cent in 1999. The number of babies born to teenage mothers in the country totalled 48,000 last year.

Other studies on divorce were cited by fourteen-year-old Clayton Giles, who has been biking across Canada. He will cross the border into the United States at Niagara Falls, N.Y. Sunday bringing a simple message that “despite a divorce, children need two parents.” According to a UPI story covering Clayton’s quest, “Although children of divorce make up only one-sixth of the child population, they account for 91 percent of child suicides, 78 percent of young offenders, 65 percent of teen pregnancies, 90 percent of runaways, and 71 percent of school dropouts. They make up 85 percent of children with behavioral problems, 75 percent of the occupants of chemical abuse centers, and 80 percent of the adolescents in psychiatric facilities, according to research studies.”

See the Observer and the UPI coverage:,6903,525684,00.html