Marriage & Poverty: Connecticut


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Marriage is America's #1 weapon against childhood poverty. This presentation details the impact of marriage on the probability of child poverty in Connecticut.

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Marriage & Poverty: Connecticut

  1. 1. Marriage:Connecticut’s No. 1 Weapon Against Childhood Poverty How the Collapse of Marriage Hurts Children and Three Steps to Reverse the Damage A Heritage Foundation Book of Charts • January 2012 Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society
  2. 2. Growth of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in Connecticut, 1929–2010 In 2010, 36.5 percent of children PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCKin Connecticut were born outsidemarriage. Historically, this was 50%unusual. Throughout most ofConnecticut’s history, out-of-wedlockchildbearing was rare. Before WorldWar II, only four percent of children 40.8% 40%in Connecticut, were born outside 36.5%marriage. By 1980, the number hadrisen to 18 percent. Unfortunately, data on non-marital 30%births in Connecticut are unavailablebetween 1943 and 1979. However, Nationalall states that have data for this periodhad rates which parallel the national Connecticuttrend shown in the chart. In these 20%states, the non-marital birth ratesremained low until the onset of thefederal War on Poverty in the mid-1960s, and then began to rise steadily. 10%The Connecticut unwed birth ratebetween 1943 and 1979 very likelyparallels the overall national trend. 0%Sources: U.S. Government, U.S. CensusBureau, and National Center for Health 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010Statistics. Chart 1 • Marriage and Poverty in Connecticut
  3. 3. In Connecticut, Marriage Drops the Probability of Child Povertyby 91 Percent The rapid rise in out-of- PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN THAT ARE POORwedlock childbearing is a major 35%cause of high levels of child pov-erty in Connecticut. 30.3% 30% Some 30.3 percent of singlemothers with children were poorcompared to 2.7 percent of mar- 25%ried couples with children. Single-parent families with 20%children are eleven times morelikely to be poor than families inwhich the parents are married. 15% The higher poverty rate amongsingle-mother families is due both 10%to the lower education levels ofthe mothers and the lower income 5%due to the absence of the father. 2.7% 0% Single-Parent, Married,Two-ParentSource: U.S. Census Bureau, American Female-Headed FamiliesCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Families Chart 2 • Marriage and Poverty in Connecticut
  4. 4. In Connecticut, Three in Ten Families with Children Are Not Married Overall, married couples headabout 70 percent of families withchildren in Connecticut. Three inten are single-parent families. Unmarried Families 30.4% Married Families 69.6%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 3 • Marriage and Poverty in Connecticut
  5. 5. In Connecticut, 81 Percent of Poor Families with ChildrenAre Not Married Among poor families withchildren in Connecticut, 81.4percent are not married. Bycontrast, only 18.6 percent of poor Marriedfamilies with children are headed Familiesby married couples. 18.6% Unmarried Families 81.4%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 4 • Marriage and Poverty in Connecticut
  6. 6. In Connecticut, Few Unwed Births Occur to Teenagers Out-of-wedlock births are often PERCENTAGE OF OUT-OF-WEDLOCK BIRTHSconfused erroneously with teen BY AGE OF MOTHERbirths, but only 5.7 percent ofout-of-wedlock births in UnderConnecticut occur to girls under Age 18: 5.7%age 18. By contrast, some 72 percent ofout-of-wedlock births occur to Ageyoung adult women between the Age 18–19:ages of 18 and 29. 30–54: 12.1% 22.3% Age 25–29: Age 24.9% 20–24: 35.0%Note: Figures have been rounded.Source: U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services, Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, 2008 NHSdata. Chart 5 • Marriage and Poverty in Connecticut
  7. 7. Less-Educated Women Are More Likely to Give Birth Outside of Marriage Unwed childbearing occurs PERCENTAGE OF BIRTHS THAT ARE MARITALmost frequently among the OR OUT OF WEDLOCKwomen who will have the greatest 100%difficulty supporting children by 8.1% Unmarriedthemselves: those with low levels 90% Mothersof education. 42.0% 80% In the U.S., among women who 54.5%are high school dropouts, about 70%65.2 percent of all births occur 65.2%outside marriage. Among women 60%who have only a high school 91.9%diploma, well over half of all births 50% Marriedoccur outside marriage. By con- 40% Motherstrast, among women with at least a 58.0%college degree, only 8.1 percent of 30%births are out of wedlock. 45.5% 20% 34.8%Note: Specific data on out-of-wedlockbirths and maternal education are not 10%available in Connecticut. However, thepattern varies little between states. Con- 0%necticut data will be very similar to the High School High School Some College Mother’snational data presented in this chart. Dropout Graduate College Graduate education (0–11 (12 (13–15 (16+ levelSource: U.S. Department of Health and Years) Years) Years) Years)Human Services, Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, 2008 NHS data.  Chart 6 • Marriage and Poverty in Connecticut
  8. 8. Both Marriage and Education Are Highly Effectivein Reducing Child Poverty in Connecticut The poverty rate of married PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES Poverty Rate of Families bycouples with children is dramati- WITH CHILDREN THAT Single Education and Marital Statuscally lower than the rate for house- ARE POOR Married of the Head of Householdholds headed by single parents. 70%This is true even when the marriedcouple is compared to single par- 60% 58.9%ents with the same education level. For example, in Connecticut, 50%the poverty rate for a singlemother who has only a high 40%school diploma is 30.8 percent, 30.8%but the poverty rate for a married 30%couple family headed by an indi-vidual who, similarly, has only a 20% 19.6%high school degree is far lower at 14.6%4.2 percent. 10% 9.8% 4.2% 2.5% On average, marriage drops the 1.2%poverty rate by around 84 percent 0%among families with the same High School High School Some Collegeeducation level. Dropout Graduate College GraduateSource: U.S. Census Bureau, American Note: Virtually none of the heads of families in the chart who are high schoolCommunity Survey, 2005–2009 data. dropouts are minor teenagers. Chart 7 • Marriage and Poverty in Connecticut
  9. 9. Unwed Birth Rates Vary Strongly by Race in Connecticut Out-of-wedlock childbearing PERCENT OF BIRTHS THAT ARE OUT OF WEDLOCKvaries considerably by race. 80% In 2008 (the most recent yearfor which racial breakdown is 69.8%available), more than one in three 70%births in Connecticut occurred 64.2%outside marriage. The rate was 60%lowest among whites. Among thatgroup around one in five births 50%were non-marital. Among Hispanics, nearly two in 40% 36.4%three children were born out-of-wedlock. Among blacks, seven inten births were to unwed mothers. 30% 22.1% 20% 10% 0%Source: U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services, Centers for Disease All Races White Hispanic BlackControl and Prevention, 2008 NHS Non- Non-data. Hispanic Hispanic Chart 8 • Marriage and Poverty in Connecticut
  10. 10. Racial Composition of All Births and Out-of-Wedlock Birthsin Connecticut In Connecticut in 2008, some ALL BIRTHS OUT-OF-WEDLOCK BIRTHS59.3 percent of all births occurredto non-Hispanic whites, 21.5percent occurred to Hispanics, and12.7 percent occurred to non-Hispanic blacks. 59.3% White Non- 36.0% Because blacks and Hispanics Hispanicare more likely to have childrenwithout being married, theyaccount for disproportionatelylarger shares of all out-of-wedlockbirths. In Connecticut in 2008, 37.8 37.8%percent of all non-marital birthswere to Hispanic women, 36 Hispanicpercent were to white non- 21.5%Hispanic women, and 24.4 percentwere to black non-Hispanicwomen. 12.7% Black Non- 24.4% HispanicSource: U.S. Department of Health and 6.5% 1.8% Asian/OtherHuman Services, Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, 2008 NHSdata. Note: Figures have been rounded. Chart 9 • Marriage and Poverty in Connecticut
  11. 11. Non-Married White Families Are Ten Times More Likely to Be Poorin Connecticut Marriage leads to lower poverty PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORrates for whites, blacks, and His-panics. 14% For example, in 2009, the pov- 12.5%erty rate for married white familiesin Connecticut was 1.3 percent. 12%But the poverty rate for non-married white families was about 10%ten times higher at 12.5 percent. 8% 6% 4% 2% 1.3% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 10 • Marriage and Poverty in Connecticut
  12. 12. Non-Married Black Families Are Nine Times More Likely to Be Poorin Connecticut In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORmarried black couples inConnecticut was 3.2 percent, 35%while the poverty rate for non-married black families was ninetimes higher at 29.4 percent. 30% 29.4% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 3.2% 0%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Married Families Non-Married FamiliesCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 11 • Marriage and Poverty in Connecticut
  13. 13. Non-Married Hispanic Families Are Five Times More Likely to Be Poorin Connecticut In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORHispanic married families inConnecticut was 8.5 percent, 50%while the poverty rate amongnon-married families was five 43.7%times higher at 43.7 percent. 40% 30% 20% 10% 8.5% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 12 • Marriage and Poverty in Connecticut
  14. 14. Three Steps to Reduce Child Poverty through Marriage1) Provide information on the benefits of marriage in reducing child poverty and improving child well-being. Marriage is a highly effective institution which greatly decreases parental and child poverty while improving long-term outcomes for children. Conversely, the absence of marriage greatly increases welfare costs and imposes added burdens on taxpayers. Unfortunately, almost no information on these topics is available in low-income communities. This information deficit should be corrected in the following manner: • Explain the benefits of marriage in middle and high schools with a high proportion of at-risk youth; • Create public education campaigns in low-income communities on the benefits of marriage; and, • Require federally funded birth control clinics to provide information on the benefits of marriage and the skills needed to develop stable families to interested low-income clients.2) Reduce anti-marriage penalties in means-tested welfare programs.3) Promote life-goal-planning, marriage-strengthening, and divorce-reduction programs to increase healthy marriages and reduce divorce and separation.
  15. 15. The Family & Religion Initiative is one of 10 Transformational Initiatives making up The HeritageFoundation’s Leadership for America campaign. For more products and information related to this initiativeor to learn more about the Leadership for America campaign, please visit The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institution—a think tank—whose mission is toformulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited gov-ernment, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. Our vision is to build an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish. Asconservatives, we believe the values and ideas that motivated our Founding Fathers are worth conserving.As policy entrepreneurs, we believe the most effective solutions are consistent with those ideas and values. 214 Massachusetts Avenue, NE • Washington, D.C. 20002 • (202) 546-4400 •