Marriage: Arizona’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 Arizona, 1929–2010 Throughout most of Arizona’s PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCKhistory, out-of-wedlock childbear-ing was rare. 50% In 1968, just four years after the 44.9%federal government began the Waron Poverty, only 10.1 percent of 40.8% 40%children in Arizona were bornoutside marriage. However, over Arizonathe next ﬁve decades, the number Nationalrose rapidly. By 2010, 44.9 percent 30%of births in Arizona occurredoutside of marriage. 20%Note: Data on non-marital births inArizona are unavailable between 1945an 1967. However, all states that dohave data for this period show a rapidgrowth in non-marital childbearing 10%from the mid-1960s on. The Arizonatrend during this period undoubtedlyparallels the national trend shown inthe chart. 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 Arizona heritage.org
In Arizona, Marriage Drops the Probability of Child Povertyby 73 Percent The rapid rise in out-of- PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN THAT ARE POORwedlock child bearing is a major 50%cause of high levels of child pov-erty in Arizona. Some 35.4 percent of single 40%mothers with children were poor 35.4%compared to 9.4 percent of mar-ried couples with children. Single-parent families with 30%children are about four 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 9.4% 10%to the lower education levels ofthe 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 2 • Marriage and Poverty in Arizona heritage.org
In Arizona, Over One-Third of All Families with ChildrenAre Not Married Overall, married couples headabout two-thirds of families withchildren in Arizona. Overone-third are single-parentfamilies. Unmarried Families 34.8% Married Families 65.2%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 3 • Marriage and Poverty in Arizona heritage.org
In Arizona, 64 Percent of Poor Families with Children Are Not Married Among poor families withchildren in Arizona, nearlytwo-thirds are not married. Bycontrast, 36.2 percent of poorfamilies with children are headedby married couples. Married Families 36.2% Unmarried Families 63.8%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 4 • Marriage and Poverty in Arizona heritage.org
In Arizona, 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 9.1 percent ofout-of-wedlock births in Arizona Underoccur to girls under age 18. Age 18: By contrast, some 73 percent of 9.1%out-of-wedlock births occur to Ageyoung adult women between the 30–54:ages of 18 and 29. 18.0% Age 18–19: 14.7% Age 25–29: 22.7% Age 20–24: 35.5%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 Arizona 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 greatest 100%difﬁculty supporting children by 8.1% Unmarriedthemselves: those with low levels 90% Mothersof education. 42.0% In the U.S., among women who 80%are high school dropouts, about 54.5% 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%Note: Specific data on out-of-wedlock 20%births and maternal education are not 34.8%available in Arizona. However, the pattern 10%varies little between states. Arizona datawill be very similar to the national data 0%presented in this chart. High School High School Some College Mother’s Dropout Graduate College Graduate educationSource: U.S. Department of Health and (0–11 (12 (13–15 (16+ levelHuman Services, Centers for Disease Years) Years) Years) Years)Control and Prevention, 2008 NHS data. Chart 6 • Marriage and Poverty in Arizona heritage.org
Both Marriage and Education Are Highly Effectivein Reducing Child Poverty in Arizona 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 56.3%couple is compared to single par-ents with the same education level. 50% For example, in Arizona, thepoverty rate for a single mother 40%who has only a high school 33.9%diploma is 33.9 percent, but the 30% 26.9%poverty rate for a married couple 24.4%family headed by an individual 20%who, similarly, has only a highschool degree is far lower at 12.1 12.1% 10.7%percent. 10% 5.1% On average, marriage drops the 1.9%poverty rate by around 69 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 Arizona heritage.org
Unwed Birth Rates Vary Strongly by Race in Arizona Out-of-wedlock childbearing PERCENT OF BIRTHS THAT ARE OUT OF WEDLOCKvaries considerably by race. 80% 77.0% In 2008 (the most recent yearfor which racial breakdown is 8.3%available), 45.3 percent of all 70%births in Arizona occurred outside 62.8%marriage. 60% 56.5% The rate was lowest amongnon-Hispanic whites: three in ten 50%births in this group were non- 45.3%marital. Among Hispanics, 56.5 40%percent of births were out-of-wedlock. 29.7% 30% Among blacks, well over six inten births were to unmarriedwomen. Among American Indi- 20%ans, over three in four (77 per-cent) births were out-of-wedlock. 10%Source: U.S. Department of Health and 0%Human Services, Centers for Disease All Races White Hispanic Black AmericanControl and Prevention, 2008 NHS Non- Non- Indiandata. Hispanic Hispanic Chart 8 • Marriage and Poverty in Arizona heritage.org
Racial Composition of All Births and Out-of-Wedlock Births in Arizona In Arizona in 2008, some 43.6 ALL BIRTHS OUT-OF-WEDLOCK BIRTHSpercent of all births occurred toHispanics, 42.4 percent occurredto non-Hispanic whites, 6 percentoccurred to American Indians, and4.1 percent occurred to non-Hispanic blacks. 43.6% Because blacks, Hispanics, and 54.4%American Indians are more likely Hispanicto have children without beingmarried, they account for dispro-portionately larger shares of allout-of-wedlock births. In 2008, 54.4 percent of allnon-marital births in Arizona wereto Hispanics, 27.8 percent were to 42.4% White Non- 27.8%white non-Hispanic women, 10.2 Hispanicpercent were to American Indians,and 5.7 percent were to black 10.2% 6.0% American Indiannon-Hispanic women. 4.1% Black Non-Hispanic 5.7% 3.9% Asian/Other 2.0%Source: U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services, Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, 2008 NHSdata. Note: Figures have been rounded. Chart 9 • Marriage and Poverty in Arizona heritage.org
Non-Married White Families Are Six Times More Likely to Be Poorin Arizona Marriage leads to lower poverty PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORrates for whites, blacks, and His-panics. 20% For example, in 2009, the pov- 17.8%erty rate for married white familiesin Arizona was 3.2 percent. Butthe poverty rate for non-married 15%white families was nearly six timeshigher at 17.8 percent. 10% 5% 3.2% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 10 • Marriage and Poverty in Arizona heritage.org
Non-Married Black Families Are Nearly Five Times More Likelyto Be Poor in Arizona In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORmarried black couples in Arizonawas 6.9 percent, while the poverty 40%rate for non-married black familieswas nearly ﬁve times higher at30.9 percent. 30.9% 30% 20% 10% 6.9% 0%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Married Families Non-Married FamiliesCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 11 • Marriage and Poverty in Arizona heritage.org
Non-Married Hispanic Families Are Almost Three Times More Likelyto Be Poor in Arizona In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORHispanic married families in Ari-zona was 14.9 percent, while the 50%poverty rate among non-marriedfamilies was nearly three timeshigher at 40 percent. 40.0% 40% 30% 20% 14.9% 10% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 12 • Marriage and Poverty in Arizona heritage.org
Non-Married American Indian Families Are Twice as Likely to Be Poorin Arizona In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORAmerican Indian married familiesin Arizona was 17.9 percent, while 50%the poverty rate among non-married families was more thantwice as high at 39.3 percent. 39.3% 40% 30% 20% 17.9% 10% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 13 • Marriage and Poverty in Arizona 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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