Marriage: Kansas’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 Kansas, 1929–2010 Throughout most of Kansas PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCKhistory, out-of-wedlock childbear-ing was rare. 50% When the federal government’s 45%War on Poverty began in 1964,only 4.3 percent of children in 40%Kansas were born out of wedlock. 37.8%However, over the next four 35%decades, the number rose rapidly.By 2010, nearly 4 out of 10 births 30%in Kansas occurred outside ofmarriage. 25% 20%Note: Initiated by President Lyndon 15%Johnson 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 poor 5%since 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 Kansas heritage.org
Death of Marriage in Kansas, 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 norm 90%in Kansas. In 1964, more than 95percent of births occurred tomarried couples. However, in the mid-1960s, themarital birth rate began to fall 80%steadily. By 2010, only 62.2 per-cent of births in Kansas occurredto married couples. 70%Note: In any given year, the sum of theout-of-wedlock birth rate (Chart 1)and the marital birth rate (Chart 2) 62.2%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 Kansas heritage.org
In Kansas, 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 inKansas. Some 35.1 percent of single 40%mothers with children were poor 35.1%compared to 5.5 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 5.5%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 Kansas heritage.org
In Kansas, Nearly One-Third of All Families with ChildrenAre Not Married Overall, married couples headabout two-thirds of families withchildren in Kansas. Nearlyone-third are single-parentfamilies. Unmarried Families 30.3% Married Families 69.7%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 4 • Marriage and Poverty in Kansas heritage.org
In Kansas, 71 Percent of Poor Families with Children Are Not Married Among poor families withchildren in Kansas, 71 percent arenot married. By contrast, three inten poor families with children areheaded by married couples. Married Families 29.4% Unmarried Families 70.6%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 5 • Marriage and Poverty in Kansas heritage.org
In Kansas, 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 8 percent of out-of-wedlock births in Kansas occur Underto girls under age 18. Age 18: By contrast, some 78 percent of 7.8%out-of-wedlock births occur to Ageyoung adult women between the 30–54:ages of 18 and 29. 13.6% Age 18–19: 16.3% Age 25–29: 21.8% Age 20–24: 40.5%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 Kansas heritage.org
Less-Educated Women in Kansas Are More Likelyto Give Birth Outside 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 5.8% Mothersthemselves: those with low levels 90%of education. 35.8% 80% In Kansas, among women who 54.9%are high school dropouts, two- 70% 67%thirds of all births occur outside 60%marriage. Among women whohave only a high school diploma, 50% Marriedmore than half of all births occur 94.2% 40% Mothersoutside marriage. By contrast, 64.2%among women with at least a 30%college degree, only 6 percent of 45.1%births are out of wedlock. 20% 33% 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 Kansas heritage.org
Both Marriage and Education Are Highly Effectivein Reducing Child Poverty in Kansas 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% 58.9%ents with the same education level. For example, in Kansas, the 50%poverty rate for a single motherwho has only a high school 40%diploma is 30 percent, but thepoverty rate for a married couple 30.0% 29.6% 30%family headed by an individual 21.4%who, similarly, has only a high 20%school degree is far lower at 5.5percent. 10% 7.8% 5.5% 4.3% On average, marriage drops the 1.1%poverty rate by around 79 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 Kansas heritage.org
Unwed Birth Rates Vary Strongly by Race in Kansas Out-of-wedlock childbearing PERCENT OF BIRTHS THAT ARE OUT OF WEDLOCKvaries considerably by race. 80% In 2008 (the most recent year 74.6%for which racial breakdown is 8.3%available), more than one in three 70%births (37.8 percent) in Kansasoccurred outside marriage. The 60%rate was lowest among non- 53.2%Hispanic whites at more than 50%three in ten births (31.1 percent).Among Hispanics, well over halfof births were out-of-wedlock. 40% 37.8%Among blacks, seven out of 10 31.1%births were to unmarried women 30%(74.6 percent). 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 Kansas heritage.org
Growth of Unwed Childbearing by Race in Kansas, 1934–2008 Historically, out-of-wedlock PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCKchildbearing has been somewhatmore frequent among blacks than 80%among whites. However, prior to Black Non-the onset of the federal Hispanic 70%government’s War on Poverty in 74.6%1963, the rates for both whites andblacks were comparatively low. 60% Hispanic In 1964, not even one in 10 (3 53.2%percent) white children were born 50%outside marriage. By 2008, thenumber had risen to more than 40%three in ten (31.1 percent). In 1964, about one in ﬁve black 30% White Non-children (20.9 percent) were born Hispanicoutside marriage. By 2008, the 31.1% 20%number had risen to about threein every four (74.6 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 Kansas heritage.org
Racial Composition of All Births and Out-of-Wedlock Births in Kansas In Kansas in 2008, some 72.2 ALL BIRTHS OUT-OF-WEDLOCK BIRTHSpercent of all births occurred tonon-Hispanic whites, 16.2 percentoccurred to Hispanics, and 7.5percent occurred to non-Hispanicblacks. Because blacks and Hispanicsare more likely to have childrenwithout being married, they 72.2% White Non- 59.6%account for a disproportionately Hispaniclarge share of all out-of-wedlockbirths. Even so, the largest numberof unwed births are to white non-Hispanic women. In Kansas in 2008, 59.6 percentof all non-marital births were to 22.9%non-Hispanic whites, 22.9 percentwere to Hispanics, and 14.9 per- Hispanic 16.2%cent were to black non-Hispanicwomen. Black Non- 14.9% 7.5% Hispanic 4.1% Asian/Other 2.6%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 Kansas heritage.org
Non-Married White Families Are Eight Times More Likely to Be Poorin Kansas Marriage leads to lower poverty PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORrates for whites, blacks, and His-panics. 25% 23.4% For example, in 2007, the pov-erty rate for married white familiesin Kansas was 2.9 percent. But thepoverty rate for non-married white 20%families was more than eight timeshigher at 23.4 percent. 15% 10% 5% 2.9% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 12 • Marriage and Poverty in Kansas heritage.org
Non-Married Black Families Are Nearly Eleven Times More Likelyto Be Poor in Kansas In 2007, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORmarried black couples in Kansaswas 3.7 percent, while the poverty 50%rate for non-married black familieswas nearly eleven times higher at40.1 percent. 40.1% 40% 30% 20% 10% 3.7% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 13 • Marriage and Poverty in Kansas heritage.org
Non-Married Hispanic Families Are Three Times More Likelyto Be Poor in Kansas In 2007, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORHispanic married families inKansas was 14.8 percent, while the 50%poverty rate among non-marriedfamilies was three times higher at 43.6%43.6 percent. 40% 30% 20% 14.8% 10% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 14 • Marriage and Poverty in Kansas 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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