WASHINGTON, D.C., January 14, 2013 ( – A new study of violent crimes from the U.S. Department of Justice has found that teens living in unmarried households were nearly four times more likely to become the victim of a serious violent crime than their peers who lived with married parents.

The study, “Violent Crime Against Youth, 1994-2010,” focused on serious violent crimes committed against “youth,” meaning children between the ages of twelve and seventeen.  The study defined “serious violent crimes” as rape, other sexual assaults, robbery and aggravated assault.

According to DOJ findings, in 2010, 27.8 out of every 1,000 youth living with an unmarried householder became the victims of a serious violent crime. At the same time, only 7.4 out of every 1,000 youth living with married parents were similarly victimized.

The study’s numbers were based on annual surveys of American youth conducted by the Census Bureau. In 2010, the Census Bureau interviewed a random sampling of 73,300 youth for the study.

The DOJ’s findings are just the latest in a string of studies showing a significant negative impact on children raised without a married mother and father.  

But despite the research showing the benefits of marriage for children, the number of children being raised by single parents – whether by circumstance or choice – is on the rise.  Another recent census-data study showed the number of children raised in unmarried households has nearly doubled over the past 50 years.