It is often thought that those people who start a family early miss out on career opportunities, make poor choices of partners and can experience other problems. A study of 8,000 young adults in the U.S. compared those who set up a family over the course of a five-year period to those who remained single or who had not had children. Those who had set up a family early in their lives were more likely to come from low-income families, have less well-educated parents and to have lived in a household with one or no biological parents. However, despite these disadvantages there were very few differences in overall happiness between the two groups. Those who had broken up with a live-in partner had higher levels of depression but this group only made up 14% of the people in the 'early families' group. The researchers speculated that leaving to live together, marry or have children may provide an opportunity to escape from an unloving home and create a more positive family.
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