Children raised in a two-parent families do best at school, a conference has been told.
A "world family map" compiled by the Child Trends research centre was presented at the World Congress of Families in Sydney on Thursday.
It examined families in 45 countries around the world, including Australia.
One of the report's authors, Dr Brad Wilcox from the University of Virginia's National Marriage Project, said it showed that in most of the developed world children are more likely to thrive academically when they have two parents at home.
Dr Wilcox said 80 per cent of Australian children were growing up in a two-parent family, which he said gave them access to the "love, security, attention and financial resources that brings".
These children were more likely to excel in reading and less likely to be held back at school than the children of single parents.
"It's clear that the two-parent family gives a child a leg up in education," he told the conference.
However, he said the report had some "surprising results".
"We found that children from a single-parent family in some developing countries such as Egypt were more likely to be enrolled at school," Dr Wilcox said.
The World Congress of Families was founded by the US-based Howard Center for Family, Religion and Society.