Marriage: South Dakota’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 South Dakota, 1932–2010 Throughout most of South PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCKDakota’s history, out-of-wedlockchildbearing was rare. 40% 37.6% When the federal government’sWar on Poverty began in the early 35%1960s, only three percent of chil-dren in South Dakota were born 30%out of wedlock. However, over thenext four decades, the numberrose rapidly. By 2010, 37.6 percent 25%of births in South Dakota occurredoutside of marriage. 20% 15%Note: Initiated by President LyndonJohnson in 1964, the War on Poverty 10%led to the creation of more than threedozen welfare programs to aid poorpersons. Government has spent $16.7 5%trillion on means-tested aid to the poorsince 1964. 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 South Dakota heritage.org
Death of Marriage in South Dakota, 1932–2010 The marital birth rate—the PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN BORN TO MARRIED COUPLESpercentage of all births that occurto married parents—is the ﬂip side 100%of the out-of-wedlock birth rate. Through most of the 20th cen-tury, marital births were the normin South Dakota. In the early 90%1960s, some 97 percent of birthsoccurred to married couples. However, in the mid-1960s, themarital birth rate began to fallsteadily. By 2010, only 62.4 per- 80%cent of births in South Dakotaoccurred to married couples. 70%Note: In any given year, the sum of theout-of-wedlock birth rate (Chart 1)and the marital birth rate (Chart 2)equals 100 percent of all births. 62.4% 60%Sources: U.S. Government, U.S. CensusBureau, and National Center for Health 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010Statistics. Chart 2 • Marriage and Poverty in South Dakota heritage.org
In South Dakota, Marriage Drops the Probability of Child Povertyby 87 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 inSouth Dakota. Some 38.6 percent of single 38.6% 40%mothers with children are poorcompared to 4.9 percent of mar-ried couples with children. Single-parent families with 30%children are eight times morelikely to be poor than families inwhich the parents are married. 20% The higher poverty rate amongsingle-mother families is due bothto the lower education levels of 10%the mothers and the lower income 4.9%due to the absence of the father. 0% Single-Parent, Married,Two-ParentSource: U.S. Census Bureau, American Female-Headed FamiliesCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Families Chart 3 • Marriage and Poverty in South Dakota heritage.org
Nearly One-Third of All Families with Children in South DakotaAre Not Married Overall, married couples headabout two-thirds of families withchildren in South Dakota. Aboutone-third are single-parentfamilies. Unmarried Families 32.1% Married Families 67.9%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 4 • Marriage and Poverty in South Dakota heritage.org
In South Dakota, 77 Percent of Poor Families with ChildrenAre Not Married Among poor families with chil-dren in South Dakota, more thanthree-quarters are not married. Bycontrast, only 23.4 percent of poorfamilies with children are headedby married couples. Married Families 23.4% Unmarried Families 76.6%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 5 • Marriage and Poverty in South Dakota heritage.org
In South Dakota Few Unwed Births Occur to Teenagers Out-of-wedlock births are PERCENTAGE OF OUT-OF-WEDLOCK BIRTHSoften confused erroneously with BY AGE OF MOTHERteen births, but only 7.5 percentof out-of-wedlock births in UnderSouth Dakota occur to girls Age 18:under age 18. 7.5% By contrast, some 78 percent Ageof out-of-wedlock births occur 30–54:to young adult women between 14.3% Agethe ages of 18 and 29. 18–19: 14.4% Age 25–29: 22.4% Age 20–24: 41.4%Note: Figures have been rounded.Source: U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services, Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, 2008 NHSdata. Chart 6 • Marriage and Poverty in South Dakota heritage.org
Less Educated Women Are More Likely to Give Birth Outsideof Marriage Unwed childbearing occurs PERCENTAGE OF BIRTHS THAT ARE MARITALmost frequently among the OR OUT OF WEDLOCKwomen who will have the greatest 100% 6.8% Unmarrieddifﬁculty supporting children by Mothersthemselves: those with low levels 90%of education. 37.4% 80% In South Dakota, among women 51.1%who are high school dropouts, 70% 71.9%about 71.9 percent of all births 60%occur outside marriage. Among Married 93.2%women who have only a high 50% Mothersschool diploma, over half of allbirths occur outside marriage. By 40% 62.6%contrast, among women with at 30%least a college degree, only 6.8 48.9%percent of births are out of wed- 20%lock. 28.1% 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 7 • Marriage and Poverty in South Dakota heritage.org
Both Marriage and Education Are Highly Effective in ReducingChild Poverty in South Dakota The poverty rate of marriedcouples with children is dramati- PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES Poverty Rate of Families by WITH CHILDREN THAT Singlecally lower than the rate for house- Education and Marital Status ARE POOR Married of the Head of Householdholds headed by single parents.This is true even when the married 80%couple is compared to single par- 69.2% 70%ents with the same education level. For example, in South Dakota, 60%the poverty rate for a singlemother who has only a high 50%school diploma is 38.6 percent, 38.6% 40%but the poverty rate for a married 34.8%couple family headed by an indi- 30%vidual who, similarly, has only ahigh school degree is far lower at 20%6.3 percent. 14.7% 10% 6.3% 8.5% On average, marriage drops the 5.1% 1.7%poverty rate by about 82 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 8 • Marriage and Poverty in South Dakota heritage.org
Unwed Birth Rates Vary Strongly by Race in South Dakota Out-of-wedlock childbearing PERCENT OF BIRTHS THAT ARE OUT OF WEDLOCKvaries considerably by race. 82.2% 80% In 2008, 38.4 percent of birthsin South Dakota occurred outsidemarriage. The rate was lowest 70%among non-Hispanic whites:nearly three in ten births (27.9 60%percent) occurred outside mar- 51.5% 52.1%riage. Among Hispanics, over half 50%of births were out of wedlock.Among blacks, 52.1 percent were 38.4%to unmarried women. The rate 40%was highest among AmericanIndian women: over eight in ten 30% 27.9%births (82.2 percent) were non-marital. 20% 10% 0%Source: U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services, Centers for Disease All Races White Hispanic Black AmericanControl and Prevention, 2008 NHS Non- Non- Indiandata. Hispanic Hispanic Chart 9 • Marriage and Poverty in South Dakota heritage.org
Racial Composition of All Births and Out-of-Wedlock Birthsin South Dakota In South Dakota in 2008, some ALL BIRTHS OUT-OF-WEDLOCK BIRTHS76.2 percent of all births occurredto non-Hispanic whites, 16.9percent occurred to AmericanIndians, and 3.8 percent occurredto Hispanics. 76.2% White Non- 55.3% Because blacks, Hispanics, and HispanicAmerican Indians are more likelyto have children without beingmarried, they account for a largershare of all out-of-wedlock births.Even so, the largest number ofunwed births are to white non-Hispanic women. In South Dakota in 2008, 55.3 36.2%percent of all non-marital birthswere to non-Hispanic whites, 36.2 16.9% American Indianpercent were to American Indianwomen, and 5.2 percent were to 3.8% Hispanic 5.2%Hispanics. 1.8% Black Non-Hispanic 2.4%Source: U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services, Centers for Disease 1.3% Asian/Other 0.9%Control and Prevention, 2008 NHSdata. Note: Figures have been rounded. Chart 10 • Marriage and Poverty in South Dakota heritage.org
Non-Married White Families Are Seven Times More Likely to Be Poorin South Dakota Marriage leads to lower poverty PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORrates for whites, blacks, Hispanics,and American Indians. 25% For example, in 2009, the pov- 23.3%erty rate for married white familiesin South Dakota was 3.2 percent.But the poverty rate for non- 20%married white families was seventimes higher at 23.3 percent. 15% 10% 5% 3.2% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 11 • Marriage and Poverty in South Dakota heritage.org
Non-Married Black Families Are Ten Times More Likely to Be Poorin South Dakota In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORmarried black couples in SouthDakota was 4.4 percent, while the 50%poverty rate for non-married blackfamilies was ten times higher at 42.1%42.1 percent 40% 30% 20% 10% 4.4% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 12 • Marriage and Poverty in South Dakota heritage.org
Non-Married Hispanic Families Are Four Times More Likely to Be Poorin South Dakota In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORHispanic married families in SouthDakota was 11.3 percent, while 50%the poverty rate among non-married families was nearly fourtimes higher at 40.5 percent. 40.5% 40% 30% 20% 11.3% 10% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 13 • Marriage and Poverty in South Dakota heritage.org
Non-Married American Indian Families Are Three Times More Likelyto Be Poor in South Dakota In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORmarried American Indian familiesin South Dakota was 19.2 percent, 58.2% 60%while the poverty rate amongnon-married families was threetimes higher at 58.2 percent. 50% 40% 30% 19.2% 20% 10% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 14 • Marriage and Poverty in South Dakota 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.
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 heritage.org. 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 • heritage.org
A particular slide catching your eye?
Clipping is a handy way to collect important slides you want to go back to later.