By Tom Donelson
Does marriage matter? With the debate swirling around the decline of the middle class, the inability to move a percentage of those below poverty downward and the future of the family structure; the question that needs to be asked is, does marriage matter?
From an economic point of view, there is no doubt that marriage does matter. Thirty-five percent of black families headed by single females live in poverty compared to 7% of black families, and 38% of Hispanic single female heads of households live in poverty compared to 12% of married Hispanic couples. Living in a single parent home increases the chances of children living in poverty and receiving government assistance.
Marriage is a significant factor in poverty and as Heritage Foundation Researcher Robert Rector noted, “Marriage remains America’s strongest anti-poverty weapon. As husbands disappear from the home, poverty, and welfare dependence will increase. Children and parents will suffer as result.” Family structure plays a factor in combatting poverty and the evidence shows decline in family formation plays a role in the number of minorities in poverty. In 1930, only 6.3% children were born out of wedlock but today that number has risen to 40%. Thirty-six percent of single parents live in poverty compared to 6.3% of married couples. Only one out of four families with children are poor when contrasted to nearly 71% of families headed by single parents, showing that family formation is a significant factor in poverty. While many blame teen pregnancy for the increase in single parents, three out of five unwed children are born to women 20-29. Education plays a significant role in unwed mothers as the least educated women are more likely to have children out of wedlock. Sixty-seven percent of women without a high school degree have children without marriage whereas mothers with college degrees or higher have a 8.3% chance of children out of wedlock.
Education is a factor in whether a woman will have a child out of wedlock, but regardless of education, married women are less likely to live in poverty. Only 15% of women who are married and without a high school diploma live in poverty, whereas 47% of single female head of household dropouts live in poverty. Thirty-one percent of single female head of households with high school diplomas live in poverty compared to only 5% of married families and 24% of single female head of households with some college degree live in poverty compared to only 3.2% married women who live in poverty. Nearly 9% of women with college degrees or higher live in poverty compared to 1.5% of married families with college degree or higher.
Something has obviously gone horribly wrong with family formation; CLICK HERE to read more.