Marriage:New York’s No. 1 Weapon Against Childhood PovertyHow the Collapse of Marriage Hurts Children and Three Steps to Reverse the Damage A Heritage Foundation Book of Charts • 2012 Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society
Growth of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in New York, 1929–2010 In 2010, 42 percent of children in PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCKNew York were born outside mar-riage. This is very high by historic 50%standards. In the 1930s, only twopercent of children in the state wereborn outside marriage. By 1980, the 42.0%number had risen to 24 percent. 40% 40.8% Unfortunately, data on non-maritalbirths in New York are unavailablebetween 1934 and 1979. However, allstates that have data for this period 30% New Yorkshow rates which parallel the Nationalnational trend displayed in the chart.In these states, the non-marital birthrates remained low until the onset of 20%the federal War on Poverty in themid-1960s, and then began to risesteadily. The New York unwed birthrate between 1934 and 1979 very 10%likely parallels the overall nationaltrend. 0%Sources: U.S. Government, U.S. CensusBureau, and National Center for 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010Health Statistics. Chart 1 • Marriage and Poverty in New York heritage.org
In New York, Marriage Drops the Probability of Child Povertyby 81 Percent The rapid rise in out-of-wedlock PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN THAT ARE POORchildbearing is a major cause of 40%high levels of child poverty in 35.9%New York. 35% Some 35.9 percent of singlemothers with children are poor 30%compared to 6.9 percent of mar-ried couples with children. 25% Single-parent families withchildren are ﬁve times more likely 20%to be poor than families in whichthe parents are married. 15% The higher poverty rate amongsingle-mother families is due both 10%to the lower education levels of 6.9%the mothers and the lower incomedue to the absence of the father. 5% 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 New York heritage.org
In New York, One-Third of All Families with Children Are Not Married Overall, married couples headabout two-thirds of families withchildren in New York. One-thirdare single-parent families. Unmarried Families 35.7% Married Families 64.3%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 3 • Marriage and Poverty in New York heritage.org
In New York, 72 Percent of Poor Families with Children Are Not Married Among poor families withchildren in New York, seven in tenare not married. By contrast, only27.7 percent of poor families withchildren are headed by marriedcouples. Married Families 27.7% Unmarried Families 72.3%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 4 • Marriage and Poverty in New York heritage.org
In New York, 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 4.9 percent ofout-of-wedlock births in New York Under Age 18:occur to girls under age 18. 4.9% By contrast, some 69 percent ofout-of-wedlock births occur toyoung adult women between the Ageages of 18 and 29. 18–19: Age 10.4% 30–54: 26.2% Age 20–24: Age 32.4% 25–29: 26.1%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 New York heritage.org
Less-Educated Women Are More Likely to Give BirthOutside of Marriage Unwed childbearing occurs PERCENTAGE OF BIRTHS THAT ARE MARITALmost frequently among the OR OUT OF WEDLOCKwomen who will have the great- 100%est difﬁculty supporting children Unmarried 11.5% Mothersby themselves: those with low 90%levels of education. 43.8% 80% In New York, among women 70% 54.0%who are high school dropouts,about 68.8 percent of all births 68.8% 60%occur outside marriage. Among 88.5%women who have only a high 50% Marriedschool diploma, nearly 54 per- Motherscent of births occur outside 40% 56.2%marriage. By contrast, among 30%women with at least a college 46.0%degree, only 11.5 percent of 20% 31.2%births are out of wedlock. 10% 0% High School High School Some College Mother’sSource: U.S. Department of Health and Dropout Graduate College Graduate educationHuman Services, Centers for Disease (0–11 (12 (13–15 (16+ levelControl and Prevention, 2008 NHSdata. Years) Years) Years) Years) Chart 6 • Marriage and Poverty in New York heritage.org
Both Marriage and Education Are Highly Effectivein Reducing Child Poverty in New York The poverty rate of married PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES Poverty Rate of Families by WITH CHILDREN THAT Singlecouples with children is dramati- Education and Marital Status ARE POOR Marriedcally lower than the rate for house- of the Head of Householdholds headed by single parents. 70%This is true even when the marriedcouple is compared to single par- 60% 59.8%ents with the same education level. For example, in New York, the 50%poverty rate for a single motherwho has only a high school 40% 38.2%diploma is 38.2 percent, but thepoverty rate for a married couple 30% 27.8%family headed by an individual 23.6%who, similarly, has only a high 20%school degree is far lower at 11.4%10.4 percent. 10.4% 10% 4.7% On average, marriage drops the 2.1%poverty rate by around 75 percent 0%among families with the same High School High School Some College Dropout Graduate College Graduateeducation level.Source: 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 New York heritage.org
Unwed Birth Rates Vary Strongly by Race in New York Out-of-wedlock childbearing PERCENT OF BIRTHS THAT ARE OUT OF WEDLOCKvaries by race. 80% In 2008 (the most recent yearfor which racial breakdown is 8.3% 69.5%available), over four in ten births 70% 65.7%(41.4 percent) in New Yorkoccurred outside marriage. 60% The rate was lowest amongwhite non-Hispanics. Among that 50%group about one in four births 41.4%(24.6 percent) were non-marital. 40% Among Hispanics, about two-thirds of births were to unmarried 30%women. Among black non- 24.6%Hispanics, about seven in tenbirths (69.5 percent) were out of 20%wedlock. 10%Source: U.S. Department of Health and 0%Human Services, Centers for Disease All Races White Hispanic BlackControl and Prevention, 2008 NHS Non- Non-data. Hispanic Hispanic Chart 8 • Marriage and Poverty in New York heritage.org
Racial Composition of All Births and Out-of-Wedlock Births in New York In New York in 2008, some 48.2 ALL BIRTHS OUT-OF-WEDLOCK BIRTHSpercent of all births occurred tonon-Hispanic whites, 24 percentoccurred to Hispanics, and 16.1percent occurred to non-Hispanic 48.2% White Non- 28.7%blacks. Hispanic Because blacks and Hispanicsare more likely to have childrenwithout being married, theyaccount for disproportionatelylarger shares of all out-of-wedlockbirths. 38.1% In New York in 2008, 38.1percent of all non-marital births Hispanic 24.0%were to Hispanics, 28.7 percentwere to non-Hispanic whitewomen, and 27.1 percent were toblack non-Hispanic women. 16.1% Black Non- 27.1% Hispanic 11.7%Source: U.S. Department of Health and Asian/Other 6.1%Human Services, Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, 2008 NHSdata. Note: Figures have been rounded. Chart 9 • Marriage and Poverty in New York heritage.org
Non-Married White Families Are Five Times More Likely to Be Poorin New York Marriage leads to lower poverty PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORrates for whites, blacks, and His-panics. 20% For example, in 2009, the pov- 17.9%erty rate for married white families 18%in New York was 3.4 percent. But 16%the poverty rate for non-marriedwhite families was nearly ﬁve 14%times higher at 17.9 percent. 12% 10% 8% 6% 4% 3.4% 2% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 10 • Marriage and Poverty in New York heritage.org
Non-Married Black Families Are Five Times More Likely to Be Poorin New York In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORmarried black couples in NewYork was 5.9 percent, while the 30% 28.5%poverty rate for non-married blackfamilies was ﬁve times higher at28.5 percent. 25% 20% 15% 10% 5.9% 5% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 11 • Marriage and Poverty in New York heritage.org
Non-Married Hispanic Families Are Four Times More Likely to Be Poorin New York In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORHispanic married families in NewYork was 11.1 percent, while the 45%poverty rate among non-marriedfamilies was nearly four times 39.1% 40%higher at 39.1 percent. 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 11.1% 10% 5% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 12 • Marriage and Poverty in New York heritage.org
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.
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