Marriage: Indiana’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 Indiana, 1929–2010 Throughout most of Indiana’s PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCKhistory, out-of-wedlock childbear-ing was rare. 50% When the federal government’s 43.0%War on Poverty began in 1964,only 5.4 percent of children in 40%Indiana were born out of wedlock.However, over the next fourdecades, the number rose rapidly.By 2010, more than four out of 10 30%births in Indiana occurred outsideof marriage. 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 Indiana heritage.org
Death of Marriage in Indiana, 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. Through most of the 20th cen-tury, marital births were the normin Indiana. In 1964, more than 94percent of births occurred to mar- 80%ried couples. However, in the mid-1960s, themarital birth rate began to fallsteadily. By 2010, only 57 percentof births in Indiana occurred tomarried couples. 60% 57.0%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. 40%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 Indiana heritage.org
In Indiana, Marriage Drops the Probability of Child Povertyby 85 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 inIndiana. Some 39.4 percent of single 39.4% 40%mothers with children are poorcompared to 6.1 percent of mar-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 the 6.1%mothers and the lower income dueto 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 Indiana heritage.org
One-Third of All Families with Children in Indiana Are Not Married Overall, married couples headtwo-thirds of families withchildren in Indiana. More thanone-third are single-parentfamilies. Unmarried Families 33.5% Married Families 66.5%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 4 • Marriage and Poverty in Indiana heritage.org
In Indiana, 74 Percent of Poor Families with Children Are Not Married Among poor families withchildren in Indiana, 74 percent arenot married. By contrast, onlyone-quarter of poor families withchildren are headed by marriedcouples. Married Families 25.8% Unmarried Families 74.2%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 5 • Marriage and Poverty in Indiana heritage.org
In Indiana, 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 7 percent of out-of-wedlock births in Indiana occur Underto girls under age 18. Age 18: By contrast, some 78 percent of 7.1%out-of-wedlock births occur to Ageyoung adult women between the 30–54:ages of 18 and 29. 14.5% Age 18–19: 15.4% Age 25–29: 22.1% Age 20–24: 40.9%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 Indiana heritage.org
Less-Educated Women in Indiana 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% 7.6% Unmarrieddifﬁculty supporting children by 90% Mothersthemselves: those with low levelsof education. 39.0% 80% In Indiana, among women who 56.9%are high school dropouts, more 70% 68.7%than two-thirds of all births occur 60%outside marriage. Among womenwho have only a high school 50% Marrieddiploma, more than half of all 92.4% 40% Mothersbirths occur outside marriage. By 61.0%contrast, among women with at 30%least a college degree, only 8 per- 43.1%cent of births are out of wedlock. 20% 31.3% 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 Indiana heritage.org
Both Marriage and Education Are Highly Effective in ReducingChild Poverty in Indiana 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- 60% 59.9%ents with the same education level. For example, in Indiana, the 50%poverty rate for a single motherwho has only a high school 40% 39.1%diploma is 39.1 percent, but the 34.0%poverty rate for a married-couple 30%family headed by an individual 22.5%who, similarly, has only a high 20%school degree is far lower at 6.9percent. 10% 6.9% 8.6% 5.8% On average, marriage drops the 1.7%poverty rate by around 77 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 Indiana heritage.org
Unwed Birth Rates Vary Strongly by Race in Indiana Out-of-wedlock childbearing PERCENT OF BIRTHS THAT ARE OUT OF WEDLOCKvaries considerably by race. 90% In 2008 (the most recent yearfor which racial breakdown is 8.3% 79.5% 80%available), more than one in threebirths (43.3 percent) in Indianaoccurred outside marriage. The 70%rate was lowest among non-Hispanic whites at over one in 60% 57.5%three births (36.8 percent).Among Hispanics, well over half 50%of births were out-of-wedlock. 43.3%Among blacks eight out of 10 40% 36.8%births were to unmarried women(79.5 percent). 30% 20% 10% 0%Source: U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services, Centers for Disease All Races White Hispanic BlackControl and Prevention, 2008 NHS Non- Non-data. Hispanic Hispanic Chart 9 • Marriage and Poverty in Indiana heritage.org
Growth of Unwed Childbearing by Race in Indiana, 1934–2008 Historically, out-of-wedlock PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCKchildbearing has been somewhatmore frequent among blacks than 90%among whites. However, prior to Black Non-the onset of the federal 80% Hispanicgovernment’s War on Poverty in 79.5%1964, the rates for both whites and 70%blacks were comparatively low. In 1964, not even one in 10 (3.7 60% Hispanicpercent) white children was born 57.5%outside marriage. By 2008, the 50%number had risen to more thanone in three (36.8 percent). 40% White Non- Hispanic In 1964, about one in four black 36.8%children (25.8 percent) was born 30%outside marriage. By 2008, thenumber had risen to more than 20%three in every four (79.5 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 Indiana heritage.org
Racial Composition of All Births and Out-of-Wedlock Births in Indiana In Indiana in 2008, some 74.5 ALL BIRTHS OUT-OF-WEDLOCK BIRTHSpercent of all births occurred tonon-Hispanic whites, 9.6 percentoccurred to Hispanics, and 11.8percent occurred to non-Hispanicblacks. Because blacks and Hispanicsare more likely to have children 74.5% White Non- 64.9%without being married, they Hispanicaccount for a disproportionatelylarge share of all out-of-wedlockbirths. Even so, the largest numberof unwed births are to white non-Hispanic women. In Indiana in 2008, 64.9 percentof all non-marital births were tonon-Hispanic whites, 12.8 percent 21.6%were to Hispanics, and 21.6 per- Black Non- 11.8%cent were to black non-Hispanic Hispanicwomen. 9.6% Hispanic 12.8% 2.1% Asian/Other 0.7%Source: U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services, Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, 2008 NHSdata. Note: Figures have been rounded. Chart 11 • Marriage and Poverty in Indiana heritage.org
Non-Married White Families Are Eight Times More Likelyto Be Poor in Indiana Marriage leads to lower pov- PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORerty rates for whites, blacks, andHispanics. 30% For example, in 2009, the pov- 27.5%erty rate for married white familiesin Indiana was 3.4 percent. But the 25%poverty rate for non-married whitefamilies was more than eight timeshigher at 27.5 percent. 20% 15% 10% 5% 3.4% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 12 • Marriage and Poverty in Indiana heritage.org
Non-Married Black Families Are Nearly Six Times More Likelyto Be Poor in Indiana In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORmarried black couples in Indianawas 6.8 percent, while the poverty 45%rate for non-married black familieswas nearly six times higher at 39.8 39.8% 40%percent. 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 6.8% 5% 0%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Married Families Non-Married FamiliesCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 13 • Marriage and Poverty in Indiana heritage.org
Non-Married Hispanic Families Are Nearly Three Times More Likelyto Be Poor in Indiana In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORHispanic married families inIndiana was 16 percent, while the 50%poverty rate among non-marriedfamilies was nearly three times 43.9%higher at 43.9 percent. 40% 30% 20% 16% 10% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 14 • Marriage and Poverty in Indiana 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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