Marriage: Ohio’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 Unwed Childbearing in Ohio, 1929–2010 Throughout most of Ohio PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCKhistory, out-of-wedlock childbear-ing was rare. In 1964, after the 50%federal government began the Waron Poverty, only 6.1 percent of 43.8%children in Ohio were born out-side marriage. However, over the 40% 40.8% Ohionext ﬁve decades, the number roserapidly. By 2010, 56.2 percent ofbirths in Ohio occurred outside of 30%marriage. National Ohio NationalNote: Data on non-marital births in 20%Ohio are unavailable from 1969 to1979. However, all states that do havedata for this period show a rapidgrowth in non-marital childbearing 10%from the mid-1960s on. The Ohiotrend during this period undoubtedlyparallels the national trend shown inthe chart. 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 Ohio heritage.org
In Ohio, Marriage Drops the Probability of Child Poverty by 86 Percent The rapid rise in out-of-wedlock PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN THAT ARE POORchildbearing is a major cause of 50%high levels of child poverty inOhio. 41.8% Some 41.8 percent of single 40%mothers with children were poorcompared to 5.7 percent of mar-ried couples with children. Single-parent families with 30%children are more than seventimes more likely to be poor thanfamilies in which the parents are 20%married. The higher poverty rate amongsingle-mother families is due both 10%to the lower education levels of 5.7%the mothers and the lower incomedue to the absence of the father. 0% Single-Parent, Married,Two-Parent Female-Headed FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, American FamiliesCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 2 • Marriage and Poverty in Ohio heritage.org
One-Third of All Families with Children in Ohio Are Not Married Overall, married couples headabout two-thirds of families withchildren in Ohio. More than one-third are single-parent families. Unmarried Families 35.2% Married Families 64.6%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 3 • Marriage and Poverty in Ohio heritage.org
In Ohio, 78 Percent of Poor Families with Children Are Not Married Among poor families withchildren in Ohio, nearly four inﬁve are not married. By contrast,only one-ﬁfth of poor familieswith children are headed by Married Familiesmarried couples. 21.8% Unmarried Families 78.2%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 4 • Marriage and Poverty in Ohio heritage.org
In Ohio, 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 7.4 percent ofout-of-wedlock births in Ohio Underoccur to girls under age 18. Age 18: By contrast, some 79 percent of 7.4%out-of-wedlock births occur to Ageyoung adult women between the 30–54:ages of 18 and 29. 13.9% Age 18–19: 16% Age 25–29: 22.2% Age 20–24: 40.5%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 Ohio heritage.org
Less-Educated Women in Ohio Are More Likely to Give BirthOutside Marriage Unwed childbearing occurs PERCENTAGE OF BIRTHS THAT ARE MARITALmost frequently among women OR OUT OF WEDLOCKwho will have the greatest difﬁ- 100% 6.7% Unmarriedculty supporting children by Mothersthemselves: those with low levels 90%of education. 41.7% 80% In Ohio, among women who are 59.9%high school dropouts, about 73.5 70% 73.5%percent of all births occur outside 60%marriage. Among women whohave only a high school diploma, 50% Marriedthree in ﬁve births occur outside 93.3% 40% Mothersmarriage. By contrast, among 58.3%women with at least a college 30%degree, only 6.7 percent of births 40.1%are out of wedlock. 20% 26.5% 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 Ohio heritage.org
Both Marriage and Education Are Highly Effective in Reducing ChildPoverty in Ohio The poverty rate of marriedcouples with children is dramati- PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES Poverty Rate of Families by WITH CHILDREN THAT Single Education and Marital Statuscally lower than the rate for ARE POOR Married of the Head of Householdhouseholds headed by singleparents. This is true even when 80%the married couple is compared to 70% 68.1%single parents with the same edu-cation level. 60% For example, in Ohio, the pov-erty rate for a single mother who 50%has only a high school diploma is 40.3%40.3 percent, but the poverty rate 40%for a married couple family 32.8%headed by an individual who, 30% 24.2%similarly, has only a high school 20%degree is far lower at 7.7 percent. 11.9% On average, marriage drops the 10% 7.7%poverty rate by around 80 percent 4.4% 1.6%among families with the same 0%education level. High School High School Some College 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 Ohio heritage.org
Unwed Birth Rates Vary Strongly by Race in Ohio Out-of-wedlock childbearing PERCENT OF BIRTHS THAT ARE OUT OF WEDLOCKvaries considerably by race. 79.1% 80% In 2008 (the most recent yearfor which racial breakdown is 8.3%available), 43.4 percent of births in 70%Ohio occurred outside marriage. 59.5%The rate was lowest among non- 60%Hispanic whites: about one inthree births to white in this groups 50%(35.5 percent) were non-marital. 43.4% Among Hispanics, six in ten 40% 35.5%(59.5 percent) births were out-of-wedlock. Among blacks, nearlyeight in ten births (79.1 percent) 30%were to unmarried women. 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 Ohio heritage.org
Growth of Unwed Childbearing by Race in Ohio, 1934–2008 Historically, out-of-wedlock PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCKchildbearing has been somewhat Ohio–Blackmore frequent among blacks than 80% 79.1%among whites. However, prior tothe onset of the federal National– 70%government’s War on Poverty in Black 72.3%the 1960s, the rates for bothwhites and blacks were compara- 60%tively low. In 1964, 3.6 percent of white 50%children in Ohio were born out-side marriage. By 2008, the 40% Ohio–Whitenumber had risen to one in three 35.5%(35.5 percent). 30% National– In 1964, more than one in four White(26.9 percent) black children in 28.6% 20%Ohio were born outside marriage.By 2008, that number had risen toabout eight in ten (79.1 percent). 10% 0%Sources: U.S. Government, U.S. CensusBureau, and National Center for Health 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2008Statistics. Chart 9 • Marriage and Poverty in Ohio heritage.org
Racial Composition of All Births and Out-of-Wedlock Births in Ohio In Ohio in 2008, some 75.9 ALL BIRTHS OUT-OF-WEDLOCK BIRTHSpercent of all births occurred tonon-Hispanic whites, 16.3 percentoccurred to non-Hispanic blacks,and 4.6 percent occurred to His-panics. Because blacks and Hispanicsare more likely to have children 75.9% White Non- 62.2%without being married, they Hispanicaccount for disproportionatelylarger shares of all out-of-wedlockbirths. Even so, the largest numberof unwed births are to white non-Hispanic women. In Ohio in 2008, 62.2 percent ofall non-marital births were tonon-Hispanic white women, 29.7percent were to black non- 29.7% HispanicHispanic women, and 6.4 percent 16.3%were to Hispanic women. Black Non- 4.6% Hispanic 6.4%Source: U.S. Department of Health and Asian/Other 3.2% 1.7%Human Services, Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, 2008 NHSdata. Note: Figures have been rounded. Chart 10 • Marriage and Poverty in Ohio heritage.org
Non-Married White Families Are Eight Times More Likelyto Be Poor in Ohio Marriage leads to lower poverty PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORrates for whites, blacks, and His-panics. 30% For example, in 2009, the pov- 27.5%erty rate for married white familiesin Ohio was 3.4 percent. But the 25%poverty rate for non-married whitefamilies was eight times higher at27.5 percent. 20% 15% 10% 5% 3.4% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 11 • Marriage and Poverty in Ohio heritage.org
Non-Married Black Families Are Over Five Times More Likelyto Be Poor in Ohio In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORmarried black couples in Ohio was7.9 percent, while the poverty rate 50%for non-married black families wasmore than ﬁve times higher at 42.8%42.8 percent. 40% 30% 20% 10% 7.9% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 12 • Marriage and Poverty in Ohio heritage.org
Non-Married Hispanic Families Are Four Times More Likelyto Be Poor in Ohio In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORHispanic married families in Ohiowas 11.6 percent, while the pov- 50%erty rate among non-married 45.2%families was four times higher at45.2 percent. 40% 30% 20% 11.6% 10% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 13 • Marriage and Poverty in Ohio 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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