Marriage: Idaho’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 Idaho, 1929–2010 In 2010, 26.5 percent of chil- PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCKdren in Idaho were born outsidemarriage. This was very high by 50%historic state standards. BeforeWorld War II, only one percent ofchildren in Idaho were born out- 40.8% 40%side marriage. By 1980, thenumber had risen to 8 percent.Over the last three decades therate has risen rapidly. 30%Note: Data on non-marital births in 26.5%Idaho are unavailable between 1945and 1977. However, all states that havedata for this period show rates which 20%parallel the national trend displayed inthe chart. In these states, the non- Nationalmarital birth rates remained low untilthe onset of the federal War on IdahoPoverty in the mid-1960s, and then 10%began to rise steadily. The Idaho unwedbirth rate between 1943 and 1979very likely parallels the overall nationaltrend. 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 Idaho heritage.org
In Idaho, Marriage Drops the Probability of Child Povertyby 79 Percent The rapid rise in out-of- PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN THAT ARE POORwedlock childbearing is a major 45%cause of high levels of child pov-erty in Idaho. 40% 38.5% Some 38.5 percent of singlemothers with children are poor 35%compared to 8 percent of marriedcouples with children. 30% Single-parent families with 25%children are ﬁve times more likelyto be poor than families in which 20%the parents are married. The higher poverty rate among 15%single-mother families is due bothto the lower education levels of 10% 8.0%the mothers and the lower incomedue to the absence of the father. 5% 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 Idaho heritage.org
In Idaho, One-Quarter of All Families with Children Are Not Married Overall, married couples headabout three-quarters of familieswith children in Idaho. More thanone-quarter are single-parentfamilies. Unmarried Families 26.8% Married Families 73.2%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 3 • Marriage and Poverty in Idaho heritage.org
In Idaho, 59 Percent of Poor Families with Children Are Not Married Among poor families withchildren in Idaho, six in ten arenot married. By contrast, only 41.1percent of poor families withchildren are headed by marriedcouples. Married Families Unmarried 41.1% Families 58.9%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 4 • Marriage and Poverty in Idaho heritage.org
In Idaho, 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 9 percent ofout-of-wedlock births in Idaho Underoccur to girls under age 18. Age 18: 9.0% By contrast, some 77 percent ofout-of-wedlock births occur to Ageyoung adult women between the 30–54:ages of 18 and 29. 13.8% Age 18–19: 17.3% Age 25–29: 21.6% Age 20–24: 38.3%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 Idaho 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 3.4% 100% Unmarrieddifﬁculty supporting children by Mothers 90% 17.7%themselves: those with low levelsof education. 80% 36.9% In Idaho, among women who 53.6%are high school dropouts, about 70%53.6 percent of all births occur 60%outside marriage. Among women 96.6% Marriedwho have only a high school 50% Mothersdiploma, nearly four in ten births 82.3% 40%occur outside marriage. By con-trast, among women with at least a 30% 63.1%college degree, only 3.4 percent of 46.4%births are out of wedlock. 20% 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 Idaho heritage.org
Both Marriage and Education Are Highly Effectivein Reducing Child Poverty in Idaho 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 marriedcouple is compared to single par- 50.3%ents with the same education level. 50% For example, in Idaho, thepoverty rate for a single mother 40% 38.0%who has only a high school 30.0%diploma is 38 percent, but the 30%poverty rate for a married couple 24.3%family headed by an individual 20%who, similarly, has only a high 13.1%school degree is far lower at 9.6 9.6%percent. 10% 7.3% 3.0% On average, marriage drops thepoverty rate by around 70 percent 0% High School High School Some Collegeamong families with the same Dropout Graduate College Graduateeducation level.Source: 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 Idaho heritage.org
Unwed Birth Rates Vary Strongly by Race in Idaho Out-of-wedlock childbearing PERCENT OF BIRTHS THAT ARE OUT OF WEDLOCKvaries considerably by race. 50% In 2008 (the most recent yearfor which racial breakdown is 8.3% 43.3%available), over one in four births(25.3 percent) in Idaho occurred 40% 37.7%outside marriage. The rate waslowest among white non-Hispanics, at about one in ﬁvebirths (21 percent). 30% 25.3% Among non-Hispanic blacks,nearly four in ten births (37.7 21.0%percent) were to unmarried 20%women. Among Hispanics, wellover four in ten births (43.3 per-cent) were out of wedlock. 10% 0%Source: U.S. Department of Health and All Races White Black HispanicHuman Services, Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, 2008 NHS Non- Non-data. Hispanic Hispanic Chart 8 • Marriage and Poverty in Idaho heritage.org
Racial Composition of All Births and Out-of-Wedlock Births in Idaho In Idaho in 2008, some 79 percent ALL BIRTHS OUT-OF-WEDLOCK BIRTHSof all births occurred to non-Hispanicwhites, 16.1 percent occurred toHispanics, 1.6 percent occurred toAsians, and 1.4 percent occurred toAmerican Indians. Because blacks, Hispanics, and 79.0% White Non- 65.6%American Indians are more likely to Hispanichave children without being married,they account for disproportionatelylarger shares of all out-of-wedlockbirths. Even so, the largest number ofunwed births are to white non-Hispanic women. In Idaho in 2008, 65.6 percent ofall non-marital births were to whitenon-Hispanic women, 27.6 percent 27.6%were to Hispanic women, 3.6 percent 16.1% Hispanicwere to American Indian women,and 0.9 percent were to blacks. 1.6% Asian/Pacific Islander 1.0% 1.4% American Indian 3.6% 1.3% Not Stated/Other 1.3%Source: U.S. Department of Health and 0.6% Black Non-Hispanic 0.9%Human Services, Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, 2008 NHSdata. Note: Figures have been rounded. Chart 9 • Marriage and Poverty in Idaho heritage.org
Non-Married White Families Are Six Times More Likely to Be Poorin Idaho Marriage leads to lower pov- PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORerty rates for whites, Hispanics,American Indians, and blacks. 30% 28.3% For example, in 2009, the pov-erty rate for married white familiesin Idaho was 4.6 percent. But the 25%poverty rate for non-married whitefamilies was nearly six timeshigher at 28.3 percent. 20% 15% 10% 4.6% 5% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 10 • Marriage and Poverty in Idaho heritage.org
Non-Married Hispanic Families Are Nearly Three Times More Likelyto Be Poor in Idaho In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORHispanic married families in Idahowas 18.1 percent, while the pov- 50%erty rate among non-married 46.6%families was nearly three times 45%higher at 46.6 percent. 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 18.1% 15% 10% 5% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 11 • Marriage and Poverty in Idaho heritage.org
Non-Married American Indian Families Are Four Times More Likelyto Be Poor in Idaho In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORAmerican Indian married familiesin Idaho was 10.4 percent, while 50%the poverty rate among non-married families was four times 45% 43.6%higher at 43.6 percent. 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10.4% 10% 5% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 12 • Marriage and Poverty in Idaho heritage.org
Non-Married Black Families Are Three Times More Likely to Be Poorin Idaho In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORmarried black couples in Idahowas 18.2 percent, while the pov- 60%erty rate for non-married black 55.5%families was three times higher at55.5 percent. 50% 40% 30% 20% 18.2% 10% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 13 • Marriage and Poverty in Idaho 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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