In recent years, individual school districts and states as a whole wait with breathless anticipation to see their graduation rates. If rates go up, districts congratulate themselves on the implementation of their new policies. If rates go down, the declines are quickly chalked up to the need for more funds.

But as a new study implies, states might be able to figure out if they will have high graduation scores before the rates even hit the headlines.

So what is the best predictor of high graduation rates? Married parents.

Based on an examination of Florida schools, researchers at the Institute for Family Studies discovered that “the share of families headed by married couples is a more powerful predictor of high school graduation and school suspension rates than are income, race, and ethnicity.” In other words, the higher the percentage of children from married families, the higher that area’s graduation rate will be.

Graduation Rates and Married Parents

Such information is not surprising, particularly since previous research has showed that children raised by married parents are better behaved, have a more stable home life, and experience greater future earnings.

What do you think? Is such research overly simplistic? Or do we need to acknowledge that married families might be a greater ticket to life success than we like to admit?

Image Credit: Frank Roche