Poverty goes down substantially when you have children living in a two-parent family. It is as simple as that. We need more moms and dads raising our children.
From our own 30+ years of research on successful marriage on all seven continents of the world we know this – among the principle advantages of marriage is shared financial stability, now and in the future. It is backed up by the recently released special report by the Heritage Foundation entitled, Marriage: America’s Greatest Weapon Against Child Poverty.
Being married has tons of advantages – love, companionship, having children, shared responsibility, financial stability, and the like. But in the end, financial stability in the modern era may, in fact, drive almost everything else.
Here are the facts. The number one economic advantage of marriage is income! According to recent data reported by the U.S. Census Bureau and by the Heritage Foundation, the 2009 poverty rate for single parents with children in the USA was “37.1 percent.” The poverty “rate for married couples with children was 6.8 percent.” The Heritage Report goes on to say that being “raised in a married family reduces a child’s probability of living in poverty by nearly 82%.” Need we say more about being married and its positive impact on the success of our children?
In 1964, more than 9 out of 10 children born in the USA were born to married parents. In 2010 the sad reality was this – that number had dropped to 6 in 10 – a one-third drop! If you want to know the single greatest cause of childhood poverty, look no further—40% of single mothers are poor and nearly two-thirds of single mothers receive Food Stamps.
Here’s the bottom line: the huge increases in child poverty are twofold – out of wedlock childbearing and increases in single parenthood. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, some 71% of poor families with children are not married.
So we ask this simple question – why would we continue to have children out of wedlock? What favors are we doing for our children? Why do we want to have children born in poverty? Why would we not want our children to be born out of poverty and, thereby, reduce their opportunity to have a reasonable chance of success?
According to recent statistics, more than HALF of single mother families have an annual income of less than $25,000 per year. The median income for single-mother families is also about $25,000. But imagine this – the median family income for married-couple families is nearly $78,000 – more than THREE TIMES the income of single mother families!
In the final analysis, married couples in the USA are no longer a majority according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In our estimation, that is a sad situation. This drop in marriage explains, more than any other phenomenon, the substantial increases in child poverty and in the significant income disparity of married versus unmarried individuals.
Wherever possible, there is much benefit in having two parents in the home. We know that's not always possible. We acknowledge that there are a lot of great single moms and single dads. But gosh, we should be telling our kids that before they have babies, they ought to think about getting married to someone! That’s a great idea!
Quite simply, if there’s a two-parent family, the prospect of living in poverty goes down dramatically. The opportunities that the child will be able to achieve increase dramatically.
Data from the U.S Census Bureau and credible research studies about marriage and poverty suggests this – there is no way to spin the relationship between childhood poverty and single parenthood. The preponderance of evidence is far too compelling to conclude anything to the contrary.
As marriage experts we do not advocate marriage for the sake of eliminating poverty or to address income disparity. However, we DO advocate marriage for the stability it provides our children, for the income stability it provides our families, and for the many positive opportunities marriage provides, in general, for all of us.
The evidence in support of marriage to reduce poverty is overwhelming!
By Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz
America's #1 Love and Marriage Experts
Creating a successful marriage or relationship is not always the easiest thing to do. Your visiting our blog suggests you are highly interested in making your marriage work! And truthfully, we have learned over 30 years of marriage research that there are proven effective ways to ensure a happy and healthy marriage. In fact, we took hundreds of tips from the thousands of happy couples we interviewed and put them into our award-winning and bestselling book, Building a Love that Lasts.
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