Monday, October 1, 2012

More on Marriage as Cure For. . . .

. . . . . any number of ills, but this study from the Heritage Foundation focuses on marriage as the best cure for child poverty. 

Approximately 41% of children are born out of wedlock.  That's a precipitous increase from the 70s when only 10% of children were born to unmarried women.  

A few quotes from the article:
Since the early 1960s, single-parent families have roughly tripled as a share of all families with children. As noted, in the U.S. in 2009, single parents were nearly six times more likely to be poor than were married couples.

Overall, single-parent families comprise one-third of all families with children, but as Chart 6 shows, 71 percent of poor families with children are headed by single parents. By contrast, 73 percent of all non-poor families with children are headed by married couples.

These [out of wedlock birth] rates remained relatively low until the onset of Lyndon Johnson’s War on Poverty in the early 1960s. Then the black out-of-wedlock birth rate skyrocketed, doubling in little more than a decade from 24.5 percent in 1964 to 50.3 percent in 1976. It continued to rise rapidly, reaching 70.7 percent in 1994. Over the next decade, it declined slightly but then began to rise again, reaching 72.3 percent in 2008.

The report elucidates on the matter of out-of-wedlock births.  The majority do not occur among teens, but rather among young adults over the age of 18, people who generally have a favorable attitude toward marriage and children and who desire children.  The study refers to the interesting book on this subject,   Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Mothers Put Motherhood Before Marriage by Kathryn Edin and Maria Kefalas.  As the study explains it,
A major obstacle is that most low-income women plan to marry after having children, not before. Their life plan is the exact opposite of the normal sequence in the upper middle class. In the upper middle class, men and women still follow the traditional pattern: A man and woman become attracted to each other; a relationship develops; the couple assess each other and at some point deliberately choose to become lifetime partners; emotional bonds deepen; they marry and after a few years have children.

In the lowest-income third of the U.S. population, this traditional sequence of family formation and childbearing is now explicitly reversed. Women first have children and then seek to find or build a stable relationship that will eventually lead to marriage. Typically, low-income single mothers do not see marriage either as an important part of childrearing or as an important element of financial security or upward social mobility. Instead, marriage is seen as a symbolic event that should occur later in adult life. Marriage is regarded as an important ceremony that will celebrate one’s eventual arrival in the middle class rather than as a vital pathway that leads upward to the attainment of middle-class status

My opinion is based on anecdotal evidence only, but I don't think this mentality is limited to the lower-class.  It's becoming increasingly adopted by young middle-class women up to about age 30.   Lower-income women describe having children as fulfilling, giving purpose to their lives and they may do so in lieu of not having many other opportunities.  But middle-class gals who do have opportunities seem to be latching onto having children as simply something else to do, some other experience to have.  I believe these Generation Y-ers are so steeped in the culture of the feminized society (post 60s sexual revolution) that they have no awareness of the value of a father in their child's life or a husband in their own life.

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