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  • Marriage: The Greatest Weapon Against Child Poverty

    The collapse of marriage, along with a dramatic rise in births to single women, is the most important cause of childhood poverty—but government policy doesn’t reflect that reality, according to a special report released today by The Heritage Foundation.

    Nearly three out of four poor families with children in America are headed by single parents. When a child’s father is married to his mother, however, the probability of the child’s living in poverty drops by 82 percent.

    Robert Rector, Heritage’s senior research fellow in domestic policy, provides a brief overview of each state with unique data and 14 charts per state, while also updating his years of related research in the special report titled “Marriage: America’s Greatest Weapon Against Child Poverty.” Heritage’s study, including a national charts slideshow, arrives a week before the Census Bureau’s annual report on poverty, which is expected to show another increase.

    “Policymakers on the state and national levels recognize that education reduces poverty, but they’re largely unaware that marriage is an equally strong anti-poverty weapon,” says Rector, a nationally recognized authority on the U.S. welfare system. (continues below chart)

    In Florida, for example, white families headed by single parents are five times more likely to be poor than those headed by married couples. In Illinois, the poverty rate for a single mother with only a high school diploma is 39.5 percent, compared with 8 percent for a married couple with the same education.

    The rate of births to unmarried women—now four out of every 10 babies overall, five out of 10 for Hispanics, and seven out of 10 for blacks—has soared since the mid-1960s, when President Lyndon Johnson launched the War on Poverty. Births outside marriage are mostly to less-educated women—sadly, those with the least ability to support children.

    While more Americans grow dependent on welfare, government fails to communicate the benefits of marriage even as it warns young people not to smoke, do drugs, have “unsafe” sex, or drop out of school. Rector calls this “tragic.”

    Well over a third of all single-parent families with children (37 percent) were poor in 2009. Only 6.8 percent of married couples with children were poor. Marriage reduces the probability of poverty for all racial groups.

    Rector finds a silver lining: Most unmarried moms—and dads, too—do look favorably on marriage. “New policies should be developed that build on these attitudes,” he says. Specifically, government should:

    • Provide facts to at-risk youth about the value of marriage;
    • Connect low-income couples with community resources that teach them the skills they need to build lasting marriages before having children; and
    • Reform the welfare system to encourage rather than discourage and penalize marriage.
    Posted in Culture [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Marriage: The Greatest Weapon Against Child Poverty

    1. donnyg16 says:

      I feel that the reason why there is less and less successful marriages today is due that people getting married for the wrong reasons. The true values that were once associated with getting married are starting to deteriorate due to America's laws and new government regulations. This number will continue to decline because as generations evolve, there will be less people becoming married because of the decisions that people make at a young age.

      Donny Gamble
      Senior Editor http://assistanceforsinglemothers.com

      • I totally agree with Donny Gamble – Back here in India the traditional marriage oath specifies marriage as 'for the sake of progeney'…. Thats one of the Seven oaths , the other six are mutual promises as between the spouses for – personal integrity and mutual respect and an expansive social-stead .

        High Demands No doubt. – But it is for this reason 'the disciplined householder' is here considered as even superior to any 'religious recluse'.

    2. The economic reasons for this should be obvious…but really, this is all the more evidence that marriage is indeed ordained of God.

    3. Abby says:

      Yes, it is true that marriage helps keep children out of poverty under normal circumstances, we have to look at where we are as a nation and where our government is taking us. So far under the guidance of the United Nations and Iclei and Smart Growth etc, we are slowly being made dependent upon the state by DESIGN. In order to accomplish the 'balance' the UN has in mind for the planet, it will matter little whether one is a family or sterilzed at birth to control the population growth. Our own country has put all power into the hands of one man via NDAA…probably the last step before the UN gets total control…at which time your own children will not be yours anyway. Watch Behind the Green Mask on you tube…it is the best I have seen yet to describe the dilemma the US faces today.

    4. Why say 'Marriage: The Greatest Weapon against Child Poverty'? It better read ' Marriage: A surer 'safe guard' against child poverty. A stricter punishment for the adults for their 'social irresponsibilities' is also needed. For – it is by far 'the fear of punishment' that keeps a good majority of humans socially disciplined.

    5. I totally agree with Donny Gamble .. Marriage as a Service to humanity – for perpetuating the human species – needs to be vocalized as an 'individually experienced and publically recognized Value'. 'Beget children Build a Family and Be aParticipant of the Future' should be the motto.

    6. Surf says:

      This is not new news, the Coleman report of the early 60s, Senator Patrick Moynihan's 1965 Moynihan report, and the five decades of James Q. Wilson's writting have warned of this. So, why is the tree of marriage being uprooted by the political class?

    7. Robert says:

      This is strong evidence of the truthfulness of the Biblical passage in Genesis 2, with special emphasis on verses 23 and 24. God so ordained he traditional nuclear family to be the basic foundation of all society and the proper training-ground for children who grow up to be parents. All attempts to redefine marriage strike at the very heart of society and destroy its very soul. My father died when I was ten. I grew up without a strong male influence in my family, and I was married for several years before I finally learned how to be a good father to my own children.

      The importance of having both father and mother present in the home and committed to each other is thus paramount to the moral and spiritual equilibrium of children. The most crucial need for America today is the strengthening of the family unit.

      Modern statism intentionally or unintentionally has little interest in preserving the nuclear family. It has assumed a Messianic character which regards itself as supreme in its struggle to become the all-powerful substitute for the God Who Is There. The current Administration has clearly shown its
      true nature by its total disregard of the First Amendment in its riding roughshod over the conscience of
      us citizens in the matter of the issuance of "free condoms."

      "And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother and shall cling unto his wife, and they shall be one flesh."

      Thank God for the existence of the Heritage Foundation and its strong support of the nuclear family.

    8. Ronda Wintheiser says:

      I wish Mr. McIntyre, and anybody else writing about this, would start thinking about what they are really saying when they write that "government" should do something.

      He writes:

      Specifically, government should:
      Provide facts to at-risk youth about the value of marriage;
      Connect low-income couples with community resources that teach them the skills they need to build lasting marriages before having children; and
      Reform the welfare system to encourage rather than discourage and penalize marriage.

      I vehemently disagree with him if he's talking about the federal government. The federal government should get out of this entirely.

      States can do these things; local governments. But NOT the federal government.

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