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When Mom And Dad Are Married, Child Poverty Is Reduced 82%


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Washington, D.C., Sept. 5, 2012 – 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.

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.

“Marriage: America’s Greatest Weapon Against Child Poverty,” authored by Robert Rector, senior research fellow in domestic policy at the leading Washington think tank, is accompanied by a brief overview for each state with unique data and 14 charts per state. Heritage’s report arrives a week before the Census Bureau’s annual report on poverty.

“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,” Rector says.

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“We spend billions of dollars a year to educate low-income children, quite appropriately, and billions more for means-tested welfare aid for single mothers,” notes Rector, a nationally recognized authority on the U.S. welfare system. “But the nation does little or nothing to discourage births outside marriage or to encourage healthy marriage. In fact, the welfare system often sends the message that marriage has nothing to do with poverty.”

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. And marriage reduces the probability of poverty for all racial groups, as the charts show:

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Births outside marriage mostly are to less-educated women – sadly, those with the least ability to support children, the Heritage report notes. Nationwide, nearly two-thirds of births to women who are high school dropouts -- 65 percent -- are outside marriage. Among college graduates, it’s 8 percent.

Married couples with children are 76 percent less likely to be poor than single-parent families with the same level of education. In fact, Rector writes, a family headed by a single parent with a few years of college is more likely to be poor than a family headed by a married high school dropout.

The positive effects of married fathers extend well beyond income. Rector notes that a child raised in a home where Dad is married to Mom is much less likely to have emotional problems; be physically abused; smoke, drink or use drugs; do poorly in school; be expelled or drop out; and engage in violent, delinquent or criminal behavior.

Rector finds a silver lining: Most unmarried parents look favorably on marriage. “New policies should be developed that build on these attitudes,” he says, specifically:

■Provide facts to at-risk youth about the value of marriage.

■Connect low-income couples with community resources that teach skills they need to build lasting marriages before having children.

■Reform the welfare system to encourage rather than discourage and penalize marriage

http://www.heritage....t-child-poverty

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I was fascinated by a study a few years back that showed children are much more likely to adopt parental values when shown affection by their fathers at a young age. At the heart of the family crisis is a fatherlessness crisis.

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That is one of the my main gripes about the times we live in. Men particularly fathers get portrayed as either kind bumbling idiots or cruel psychopaths.

I had a good Catholic friend ask me what was the last positive portrayal of married, competent fatherhood I witnessed in popular media. The first thing I thought was Bill Cosby (2 decades ago) and Steve Martin's father of the bride (one decade ago). While both portrayals have their self effacing humor they are pretty positive.

I'm searching my mind but I'm having a hard time thinking of more recent examples. Of course as a 40 something year old man I'm not exactly up on popular culture.

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I'm 60+. My goodness how time flies when we're having so much fun. ;) There are positive role models of fatherhood in the media, but they are few and far between. I gave up on most media a long time ago. I watch mostly cooking shows and the Discovery channel now-a-days.

Ps. Plus "My Cat From Hell". A very gentle man who helps people meet the needs of their pet cats.

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I had a good Catholic friend ask me what was the last positive portrayal of married, competent fatherhood I witnessed in popular media. The first thing I thought was Bill Cosby (2 decades ago) and Steve Martin's father of the bride (one decade ago). While both portrayals have their self effacing humor they are pretty positive.

I'm searching my mind but I'm having a hard time thinking of more recent examples. Of course as a 40 something year old man I'm not exactly up on popular culture.

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I watched that second video because I thought that was Buster Bluth.

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I love that cat show. I love the cooking channel too, but its dangerous to watch it at bedtime because I can always get hungry again when someone cooks up a crispy bit of pork or a wonderful chocolate dessert.

sigh

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