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  • Marriage: Indiana's No. 1 Weapon Against Childhood Poverty

    Children in Indiana born to single parents are more than six times more likely to live in poverty than children born to married parents. In fact, nearly three-quarters of all poor families in the state are headed by single parents.

    According to a new Heritage report, the breakdown of marriage in Indiana is a major cause of the state’s poverty.

    Unfortunately, as the data reveal, the rate of unwed births in the Hoosier State has grown dramatically over the last five decades, from just over 5 percent in 1960 to approximately 44 percent today. And rates are much higher for some groups: Nearly 80 percent of African-American children and close to 60 percent of Hispanic children in Indiana are born to single mothers.

    While the increase of unwed births is often attributed to high teen birth rates, this report shows that births to young women under age 18 in fact make up a small portion of the state’s unwed births. The majority occur to women in their twenties. Many of these women lack a high school education and thus are the most likely to be poor. Yet, while education is a significant factor determining poverty, marriage significantly decreases poverty, even among families where the head of household never completed high school. Marriage has a similarly protective effect against poverty among all education levels.

    Sadly, the story of high unwed birthrates is not unique to Indiana. These trends are similar across the United States.

    Indiana is taking steps to address this problem, as are other states around the nation. All states should do the same. Such action could include providing information in low-income communities on the benefits of marriage through public education campaigns in high schools and at birth-control clinics. Lawmakers should also reduce marriage penalties in many of today’s current welfare programs.

    Curbing the tide of unwed births and increasing the opportunity for a child to be born in a married-parent family is critical to decreasing poverty and giving American children and families the greatest chance for a promising future.

    On Thursday, The Heritage Foundation co-sponsored an event with the Indiana Family Institute titled “Marriage: America’s No. 1 Weapon Against Child Poverty.” The event featured Heritage’s Robert Rector, Indiana State Representative Cindy Noe (R), Curt Smith (president) and Ryan McCann (director of Operations and Public Policy) of the Indiana Family Institute; Ryan Streeter, visiting fellow at the Sagamore Institute; and Dr. Ruth Lambert, founder of the Indiana Healthy Marriage and Family Coalition.


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    11 Responses to Marriage: Indiana's No. 1 Weapon Against Childhood Poverty

    1. Bobbie says:

      it's sad to know what women are put through especially when pregnancies take two! all starts at personal responsibility from personal allowance along with personal maintenance. what takes two reasons to be fulfilled by two. for men that run and hide need facing their own rightful responsibilities! If people were commonly expected to provide for their own (like American leadership stood strong to encourage at one time,) things wouldn't have gotten so blatantly out of hand and government wouldn't be hunting down excuses to exist.

      • Jan says:

        Women are in control of their bodies enough to say "no" to sex outside of marriage. If a women does not want a baby she will not have sex with a man she is not married to.

        • Bobbie says:

          that's very commendable, Jan. Unfortunately girls today have too much access to put her personal expenses of her personal responsibilities in the hands of society. It's a true shame. then there are girls of foreign cultures who can have as many kids as they do, at society's expense which also has to be corrected. "think before you act," what America's youth and leadership lack!

    2. andre jacobs says:

      do these stats take into account the number of two parent families the have battered spouses? unfaithful spouses? battered and sexually molested children? wives who just stay with husbands because they are told that if they leave them they will be killed? arranged marraiges where both members are miserable? etc..etc…i didn't think so!!!

    3. Sue Ellen Braunlin says:

      And poverty is also associated with 5 times higher unintended pregnancy rate. Let's get serious about reducing unintended pregnancy. That's at the root of it. Many single people and married people do not intend to have those children.

    4. Sally says:

      Growing up in the days of a woman's virtue, meaning purity, loyalty; when a woman was more than her looks, orgasms, and greed; when the man was the head of the household and choldren a blessing from GOD. Let's face it women get knocked up on purpuse to use a man. Birth control is provided free of charge in many states. Unintended pregnancy's do occur and adoption/abortion is an option. When the WIC program was implemented, the single women were penalized if they were married. They continued to have babies in order to obtain more welfare benefits. Many men are tired of being studs and take charge of their own birth control!

    5. Jan says:

      I agree with Sally. Many women get pregnant because they think they HAVE to have sex with a man to get him to want to be with her, very low self esteem, or using the man, maybe he is offering drinks or she thinks he will want to marry her if she has sex.

    6. richard avard says:

      what is new about this scenaro? Its been the case since the 60's and the Free Love movement, the Its all about Movement, It it feels good, do it movement, and the rejection of Christian Principles of our everyday life. This moral mess was totally predictable, and is going to get worxe – worse in that there is no more money for welfare. Unless this nation has a moral revival, its going down the tubes if the banksters and Wall Street don't flush us down first

    7. Gatortale says:

      Your absolutley right. Make them all get married. We all know that there are no married people living in poverty. Therefore, problem solved. Just maybe providing kids with "sex education" what parents are affraid to do, would be helpful as well.

    8. Francisco Cabezas says:

      Marriage is God's gift to humanity as understood by most religions in the world. Once you remove "God" from the equation the whole of society collapses because its foundation is Marriage & Family. Can we see what's happening to the USA and Europe? It's not just about money and economy but the moral corruption "preached and promoted" by the "new liberal politicians" what is making our people sick. They have rejected God's commands and now they propose a new "ethic" to their constituents: do whatever you believe is good for you. And simple people believe it and o it. If you teach kids how to have "save sex" but don't teach them the responsibility of such an action, the result is exactly what we see happening in the state of Indiana. Humans can't live and progress without a strong moral foundation.

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