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Marriage & Poverty: Washington
Marriage & Poverty: Washington
Marriage & Poverty: Washington
Marriage & Poverty: Washington
Marriage & Poverty: Washington
Marriage & Poverty: Washington
Marriage & Poverty: Washington
Marriage & Poverty: Washington
Marriage & Poverty: Washington
Marriage & Poverty: Washington
Marriage & Poverty: Washington
Marriage & Poverty: Washington
Marriage & Poverty: Washington
Marriage & Poverty: Washington
Marriage & Poverty: Washington
Marriage & Poverty: Washington
Marriage & Poverty: Washington
Marriage & Poverty: Washington
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Marriage & Poverty: Washington

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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 Washington.

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

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  • 1. Marriage:Washington’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. Growth of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in Washington, 1929–2010 Throughout most of PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCKWashington’s history, out-of-wedlock childbearing was rare. 35% 33.0% When the federal government’sWar on Poverty began in 1964, 30%only 5.1 percent of children inWashington were born out ofwedlock. However, over the next 25%four decades, the number roserapidly. By 2010, 33 percent ofbirths in Washington occurred 20%outside of marriage. 15%Note: Initiated by President Lyndon 10%Johnson in 1964, the War on Povertyled 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 Washington heritage.org
  • 3. Death of Marriage in Washington, 1929–2010 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 Washington. In 1964, nearly 95 90%percent of births occurred tomarried couples. However, in the mid-1960s, themarital birth rate began to fallsteadily. By 2010, only 67 percent 80%of births in Washington occurredto married couples. 70%Note: In any given year, the sum of the 67.0%out-of-wedlock birth rate (Chart 1)and the marital birth rate (Chart 2)equals 100 percent of all births. 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 Washington heritage.org
  • 4. In Washington, Marriage Drops the Probability of Child Povertyby 84 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 inWashington. Some 33.6 percent of single 40%mothers with children are poorcompared to 5.4 percent of mar- 33.6%ried couples with children. Single-parent families with 30%children are more than six timesmore likely to be poor than fami-lies in which the parents are mar- 20%ried. The higher poverty rate amongsingle-mother families is due both 10%to the lower education levels of 5.4%the mothers and the lower incomedue 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 Washington heritage.org
  • 5. Nearly Three in Ten of All Families with Children in WashingtonAre Not Married Overall, married couples headabout seven in ten families withchildren in Washington. Overthree in ten are single-parentfamilies. Unmarried Families 30.7% Married Families 69.3%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 4 • Marriage and Poverty in Washington heritage.org
  • 6. In Washington 70 Percent of Poor Families with ChildrenAre Not Married Among poor families withchildren in Washington, seven inten are not married. By contrast,30.3 percent of poor families withchildren are headed by marriedcouples. Married Families 30.3% Unmarried Families 69.7%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 5 • Marriage and Poverty in Washington heritage.org
  • 7. In Washington, 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 6.8 percent ofout-of-wedlock births in Washing- Underton occur to girls under age 18. Age 18: By contrast, some 74 percent of 6.8%out-of-wedlock births occur toyoung adult women between the Ageages of 18 and 29. 30–54: Age 18.8% 18–19: 13.5% Age 25–29: 24% Age 20–24: 36.9%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 Washington heritage.org
  • 8. 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 greatest 100% Unmarrieddifficulty supporting children by 6.1% Mothersthemselves: those with low levels 90% 29.9%of education. 80% 47.7% In Washington, among women 62.9%who are high school dropouts, 70% 93.9% Marriedabout 62.9 percent of all births Mothers 60%occur outside marriage. Amongwomen who have only a high 50% 70.1%school diploma, nearly half of allbirths occur outside marriage. By 40%contrast, among women with at 52.3% 30%least a college degree, only 6.1percent of births are out of wed- 20% 37.1%lock. 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 Washington heritage.org
  • 9. Both Marriage and Education Are Highly Effective in Reducing ChildPoverty in Washington 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. 60%This is true even when the married 53.6%couple is compared to single par-ents with the same education level. 50% For example, in Washington,the poverty rate for a single 40%mother who has only a high 33.9%school diploma is 33.9 percent, 30%but the poverty rate for a married 26.1%couple family headed by an indi- 20.6% 20%vidual who, similarly, has only ahigh school degree is far lower at 10.3%7 percent. 10% 7.0% 4.9% On average, marriage drops the 1.8%poverty rate by about 76 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 Washington heritage.org
  • 10. Unwed Birth Rates Vary Strongly by Race in Washington Out-of-wedlock childbearing PERCENT OF BIRTHS THAT ARE OUT OF WEDLOCKvaries considerably by race. 60% In 2008, 34 percent of births inWashington occurred outside 8.3% 54.2%marriage. The rate was lowest 50.9%among Asians at one in five births 50%(19.5 percent). Among whitenon-Hispanic women, nearly threein ten births were to unmarried 40%mothers (28.6 percent). 34% Among Hispanics, over half of 28.6% 30%births were out of wedlock.Among blacks, 54 percent ofchildren were born to unmarried 19.5% 20%women. 10% 0%Source: U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services, Centers for Disease All Races Asian/Pacific White Hispanic BlackControl and Prevention, 2008 NHS Islander Non- Non-data. Hispanic Hispanic Chart 9 • Marriage and Poverty in Washington heritage.org
  • 11. Growth of Unwed Childbearing by Race in Washington, 1935–2008 Historically, out-of-wedlock PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCKchildbearing has been somewhatmore frequent among blacks than Black Non- 60%among whites. However, prior to Hispanicthe onset of the federal 54.2%government’s War on Poverty in Hispanic 50% 50.9%1964, the rates for both whites andblacks were comparatively low. In 1964, not even one in 20 (4.6 40%percent) white children were bornoutside marriage. By 2008, thenumber had risen to about three White Non-in ten (28.6 percent). 30% Hispanic In 1964, about one in eight 28.6%black children (13.5 percent) were 20%born outside marriage. By 2008,the number had risen to nearlywell over half (54.2 percent). 10%Sources: U.S. Government, U.S. Census 0%Bureau, and National Center for Health 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2008Statistics. Chart 10 • Marriage and Poverty in Washington heritage.org
  • 12. Racial Composition of All Births and Out-of-Wedlock Birthsin Washington In Washington in 2008, some 63.2 ALL BIRTHS OUT-OF-WEDLOCK BIRTHSpercent of all births occurred tonon-Hispanic whites, 19.2 percentoccurred to Hispanics, 9.5 percentoccurred to Asians, and 4.4 percentoccurred to black non-Hispanicwomen. 63.2% White Non- 53.2% Because blacks and Hispanics are Hispanicmore likely to have children withoutbeing married, they account for adisproportionately larger share of allout-of-wedlock births. Even so, themajority of unwed births are to whitenon-Hispanic women. In Washington in 2008, 53.2percent of all non-marital births were Hispanic 28.8%to non-Hispanic whites, 28.8 percent 19.2%were to Hispanics, 7 percent were to Asian/Pacificblack non-Hispanics, and 5.5 percent Islanderwere to Asian women. 5.5% 9.5% Black Non-Hispanic 7% 4.4% Indian/OtherSource: U.S. Department of Health and 3.7% 5.5%Human Services, Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, 2008 NHS data. Note: Figures have been rounded. Chart 11 • Marriage and Poverty in Washington heritage.org
  • 13. Non-Married White Families Are Eight Times More Likely to Be Poorin Washington Marriage leads to lower poverty PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORrates for whites, blacks, and His-panics. 25% For example, in 2009, the pov- 21.6%erty rate for married white familiesin Washington was 2.8 percent.But the poverty rate for non- 20%married white families was abouteight times higher at 21.6 percent. 15% 10% 5% 2.8% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 12 • Marriage and Poverty in Washington heritage.org
  • 14. Non-Married Hispanic Families Are Four Times More Likely to Be Poorin Washington In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORHispanic married families inWashington was 13.4 percent, 47.8% 50%while the poverty rate amongnon-married Hispanic families wasnearly four times higher at 47.8percent. 40% 30% 20% 13.4% 10% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 14 • Marriage and Poverty in Washington heritage.org
  • 15. Non-Married Hispanic Families Are Four Times More Likely to Be Poorin Washington In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORHispanic married families inWashington was 13.4 percent, 47.8% 50%while the poverty rate amongnon-married Hispanic families wasnearly four times higher at 47.8percent. 40% 30% 20% 13.4% 10% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 14 • Marriage and Poverty in Washington heritage.org
  • 16. Non-Married Asian Families Are Four Times More Likely to Be Poor inWashington In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORmarried Asian families in Wash-ington was 5.5 percent, while the 25%poverty rate among non-marriedAsian families was nearly fourtimes higher at 20.6 percent. 20.6% 20% 15% 10% 5.5% 5% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 15 • Marriage and Poverty in Washington heritage.org
  • 17. 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.
  • 18. 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

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