Marriage may be out of fashion but it still confers considerable benefits to adults and children, according to a comprehensive study on the state of the family.
The Office for National Statistics has published definitive proof that married couples live longer, enjoy better health and can rely on more home care in old age than their divorced, widowed, single and cohabiting peers. Children who live with their married parents are also healthier, and can expect to stay in full-time education for longer, whatever their economic background.
It has always been thought that marriage had a positive effect on health, but the findings are the most solid evidence yet that, despite rapidly changing social attitudes and an end to the stigma of divorce and lone-parenting, marriage is still good for you.
It will add fuel to an already heated political debate on the family. David Cameron, the Conservative leader, has promised tax cuts for married couples, and to change the tax credit system so that couples with children receive as much as single parents.