Marriage:Delaware’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 Delaware, 1929–2010 Throughout most of Delaware’s PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCKhistory, out-of-wedlock childbear-ing was rare. 50% 47.6% When the federal government’sWar on Poverty began in 1964,only 10.4 percent of children in 40%Delaware were born out of wed-lock. However, over the next fourdecades, the number rose rapidly.By 2010, 47.6 percent of births in 30%Delaware occurred outside ofmarriage. 20%Note: Initiated by President LyndonJohnson in 1964, the War on Povertyled to the creation of more than three 10%dozen welfare programs to aid poorpersons. Government has spent $16.7trillion 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 Delaware heritage.org
Death of Marriage in Delaware, 1929–2010 The marital birth rate — the PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN BORN TO MARRIED COUPLESpercentage of all births that occurto married parents — is the ﬂip 100%side of the out-of-wedlock birthrate. 90% Through most of the 20th cen-tury, marital births were the norm 80%in Delaware. In 1964, nearly 90percent of births occurred to 70%married couples. However, in the mid-1960s, themarital birth rate began to fall 60%steadily. By 2010, only 52.5 per- 52.4%cent of births in Delaware 50%occurred to married couples. 40%Note: In any given year, the sum of theout-of-wedlock birth rate (Chart 1) 30%and the marital birth rate (Chart 2)equals 100 percent of all births. 20%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 Delaware heritage.org
In Delaware, 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 30%high levels of child poverty in 28.1%Delaware. Some 28.1 percent of single 25%mothers with children are poorcompared to 4.5 percent of mar-ried couples with children. 20% Single-parent families withchildren are over six times more 15%likely to be poor than families inwhich the parents are married. The higher poverty rate among 10%single-mother families is due bothto the lower education levels ofthe mothers and the lower income 5% 4.5%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 Delaware heritage.org
In Delaware, Four in Ten Families with Children Are Not Married Overall, married couples headabout 63 percent of families withchildren in Delaware. Almost fourin ten are single-parent families. Unmarried Families 37.5% Married Families 62.5%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 4 • Marriage and Poverty in Delaware heritage.org
In Delaware, 75 Percent of Poor Families with Children Are Not Married Among poor families withchildren in Delaware,three-quarters not married. Bycontrast, about one-quarter ofpoor families with children areheaded by married couples. Married Families 23.1% Unmarried Families 76.9%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 5 • Marriage and Poverty in Delaware heritage.org
In Delaware, 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 6.7 percent ofout-of-wedlock births in Delaware Underoccur to girls under age 18. Age 18: By contrast, some 76 percent of 6.7%out-of-wedlock births occur to Ageyoung adult women between the 30–54:ages of 18 and 29. 16.9% Age 18–19: 13.8% Age 25–29: 24.7% Age 20–24: 37.9%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 Delaware 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% 9.9% Unmarrieddifﬁculty supporting children by 90% Mothersthemselves: those with low levelsof education. 80% 44.5% In Delaware, among womenwho are high school dropouts, 70% 66.3%about 76.7 percent of all births 60% 76.7%occur outside marriage. Among 90.1% Marriedwomen who have only a high 50% Mothersschool diploma, two-thirds of allbirths occur outside marriage. By 40% 55.5%contrast, among women with at 30%least a college degree, only 9.9percent of births are out of wed- 20% 33.7%lock. 23.3% 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 Delaware heritage.org
Both Marriage and Education Are Highly Effectivein Reducing Child Poverty in Delaware 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. 70%This is true even when the marriedcouple is compared to single par- 61.9% 60%ents with the same education level. For example, in Delaware, the 50%poverty rate for a single motherwho has only a high school 40%diploma is 33 percent, but the 33.0%poverty rate for a married couple 30%family headed by an individualwho, similarly, has only a high 20% 19.4% 16.6%school degree is far lower at 4.2 13.3%percent. 10% On average, marriage drops the 4.2% 2.2% 1.8%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 Delaware heritage.org
Unwed Birth Rates Vary Strongly by Race in Delaware Out-of-wedlock childbearing PERCENT OF BIRTHS THAT ARE OUT OF WEDLOCKvaries considerably by race. 80% In 2008, 48 percent of births inDelaware occurred outside mar- 8.3% 72.7%riage. The rate was lowest among 70% 64.7%non-Hispanic whites. Among thatgroup, around one in three births 60%were non-marital. Among Hispanics, nearly two- 50% 48.0%thirds of births were out of wed-lock. Among blacks, about three 40%in every four children were to 34.3%unmarried women (72.7 percent). 30% 20% 10% 0%Source: U.S. Department of Health and All Races White Hispanic BlackHuman Services, Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, 2008 NHS Non- Non-data. Hispanic Hispanic Chart 9 • Marriage and Poverty in Delaware heritage.org
Growth of Unwed Childbearing by Race in Delaware, 1934–2008 Historically, out-of-wedlock PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCKchildbearing has been somewhatmore frequent among blacks than 80% Black Non-among whites. However, prior to Hispanicthe onset of the federal 72.7% 70%government’s War on Poverty in Hispanic1964, the rates for both whites and 64.7% 60%blacks were comparatively low. In 1964, about one in thirty (3.5 50%percent) white children were bornoutside marriage. By 2008, thenumber had risen to more than 40% White Non-one in three (34.3 percent). Hispanic In 1964, about four in ten black 30% 34.3%children (37.2 percent) were bornoutside marriage. By 2008, the 20%number had risen to nearly threein four (72.7 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 10 • Marriage and Poverty in Delaware heritage.org
Racial Composition of All Births and Out-of-Wedlock Births in Delaware In Delaware in 2008, some 53.4 ALL BIRTHS OUT-OF-WEDLOCK BIRTHSpercent of all births occurred tonon-Hispanic whites, 26.7 percentoccurred to non-Hispanic blacks,and 15.2 percent occurred toHispanics. 53.4% White Non- 38.1% Because blacks and Hispanics Hispanicare more likely to have childrenwithout being married, theyaccount for a disproportionatelylarger share of all out-of-wedlockbirths. In Delaware in 2008, 40.4 per- 40.4%cent of all non-marital births wereto non-Hispanic blacks, 38.1 Black Non- 26.7%percent were to white non- HispanicHispanic women, and 20.5 percentwere to Hispanics. 15.2% Hispanic 20.5%Source: U.S. Department of Health and 4.7% Asian/Other 1.0%Human Services, Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, 2008 NHSdata. Note: Figures have been rounded. Chart 11 • Marriage and Poverty in Delaware heritage.org
Non-Married White Families Are Ten Times More Likely to Be Poorin Delaware Marriage leads to lower poverty PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORrates for whites, blacks, and His-panics. 18% For example, in 2009, the pov- 16.5%erty rate for married white families 16%in Delaware was 1.7 percent. Butthe poverty rate for non-married 14%white families was more than tentimes higher at 16.5 percent. 12% 10% 8% 6% 4% 2% 1.7% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 12 • Marriage and Poverty in Delaware heritage.org
Non-Married Black Families Are Six Times More Likely to Be Poorin Delaware In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORmarried black couples in Delawarewas 4.2 percent, while the poverty 30%rate for non-married black familieswas six times higher at 25.5 per- 25.5%cent. 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 4.2% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 13 • Marriage and Poverty in Delaware heritage.org
Non-Married Hispanic Families Are More Than Twice as Likelyto Be Poor in Delaware In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORHispanic married families in Dela-ware was 15.8 percent, while the 45%poverty rate among non-marriedfamilies was more than two times 40% 38.4%higher at 38.4 percent. 35% 30% 25% 20% 15.8% 15% 10% 5% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 14 • Marriage and Poverty in Delaware 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.