One-third of babies in Australia are born out of wedlock, an increase from 8.3 percent in 1970, revealed a survey.
According to the director of the Australian Institute of Family Studies, Alan Hayes, the big rise in ex-nuptial births was to cohabiting couples, with the proportion born to single women remaining stable since the early 1990s.For many children it's been a good revolution, but it depends on the extent to which they are in safe and stable homes," the Age quoted Professor Hayes as saying.
"It's difficult to generalise about the effects on the children.
"It depends on whether the cohabiting relationship is long-term and stable, whether it leads to marriage, or whether it is fragile and part of a series of relationships," he said.
He said it was more important to focus on how a family functioned than on its form, on whether parenting was harsh and inconsistent, and whether relationships "disappeared before children's eyes".
It was easier for governments to support families irrespective of their form than to try to change marriage rates.
Rebecca Huntley, director of Ipsos Mackay Research, said for many members of the cohabiting Generation Y, the sign of commitment was the decision to have children and to buy a house together.
But later, when they could afford it, the couple splashed out on a big, ostentatious wedding.
"They see the wedding as a party with 150 friends. For their parents' generation a wedding was the licence to buy a house and have the children," she added.