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Marriage Poverty - Massachusetts

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  • 1. Marriage: Massachusetts’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
  • 2. Growth of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in Massachusetts, 1979–2010 In 2010, a record 34.7 percent PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCKof children in Massachusetts wereborn outside marriage. By con- 50%trast, in 1979, 15 percent of chil-dren in the state were born outsidemarriage. The non-marital birth 40.8%rate in the state has risen dramati- 40%cally over the last three decades. 34.7% 30%Note: Massachusetts is unusual in thatit has no data on non-marital births Nationalbefore 1979. However, all states that Massachusettsdo have data for the earlier period 20%show rates which parallel the nationaltrend displayed in the chart. In thesestates, the non-marital birth ratesremained low until the onset of thefederal War on Poverty in the mid- 10%1960s, and then began to rise steadily.The Massachusetts unwed birth ratebefore 1979 very likely parallels theoverall national trend. 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 Massachusetts heritage.org
  • 3. In Massachusetts, Marriage Drops the Probability of Child Povertyby 90 Percent The rapid rise in out-of-wedlock PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN THAT ARE POORchildbearing is a major cause of 35%high levels of child poverty in 31.9%Massachusetts. 30% Some 31.9 percent of singlemothers with children are poorcompared to 3.1 percent of mar- 25%ried couples with children. Single-parent families with 20%children are ten times more likelyto be poor than families in whichthe parents are married. 15% The higher poverty rate amongsingle-mother families is due both 10%to the lower education levels ofthe mothers and the lower income 5%due to the absence of the father. 3.1% 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 Massachusetts heritage.org
  • 4. In Massachusetts, Three in Ten Families with Children Are Not Married Overall, married couples headabout seven in ten families withchildren in Massachusetts. Threein ten are single-parent families. Unmarried Families 30.9% Married Families 69.1%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 3 • Marriage and Poverty in Massachusetts heritage.org
  • 5. In Massachusetts, 81 Percent of Poor Families with ChildrenAre Not Married Among poor families withchildren in Massachusetts, eight inten are not married. By contrast,only 19.4 percent of poor families Marriedwith children are headed by Familiesmarried couples. 19.4% Unmarried Families 80.6%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 4 • Marriage and Poverty in Massachusetts heritage.org
  • 6. In Massachusetts, 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 5.2 percent ofout-of-wedlock births in Massa- Under Age 18:chusetts occur to girls under age 5.2%18. By contrast, some 72 percent ofout-of-wedlock births occur to Age Age 18–19:young adult women between the 30–54:ages of 18 and 29. 11.3% 23.1% Age Age 20–24: 25–29: 34.8% 25.6%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 Massachusetts heritage.org
  • 7. Less-Educated Women Are More Likely to Give BirthOutside of Marriage Unwed childbearing occurs most PERCENTAGE OF BIRTHS THAT ARE MARITALfrequently among the women who OR OUT OF WEDLOCKwill have the greatest difficulty sup- 100% Unmarriedporting children by themselves: those 8.1%with low levels of education. 90% Mothers In the U.S., among women who 42.0%are high school dropouts, about 65.2 80%percent of all births occur outside 54.5%marriage. Among women who have 70%only a high school diploma, well over 65.2% 60%half of all births occur outside mar- 91.9% Marriedriage. By contrast, among women Mothers 50%with at least a college degree, only8.1 percent of births are out of wed- 40%lock. 58.0% 30% 45.5%Note: Specific data on out-of-wedlock 20%births and maternal education are not 34.8%available in Massachusetts. However, the 10%pattern varies little between states. Massa-chusetts data will be very similar to the 0%national data presented in this chart. High School High School Some College Mother’s Dropout Graduate College Graduate educationSource: U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services, Centers for Disease (0–11 (12 (13–15 (16+ levelControl and Prevention, 2008 NHS data.  Years) Years) Years) Years) Chart 6 • Marriage and Poverty in Massachusetts heritage.org
  • 8. Both Marriage and Education Are Highly Effectivein Reducing Child Poverty in Massachusetts 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 ARE POOR Married of the Head of Householdhouseholds headed by single 60%parents. This is true even whenthe married couple is compared to 53.0%single parents with the same 50%education level. For example, in Massachusetts, 40%the poverty rate for a single 35.7%mother who has only a highschool diploma is 35.7 percent, 30% 25.6%but the poverty rate for a marriedcouple family headed by an indi- 20%vidual who, similarly, has only a 16.6%high school degree is far lower at 9.6%5.2 percent. 10% 5.2% On average, marriage drops the 3.2% 1.3%poverty rate by around 78 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 Massachusetts heritage.org
  • 9. Unwed Birth Rates Vary Strongly by Race in Massachusetts Out-of-wedlock childbearing PERCENT OF BIRTHS THAT ARE OUT OF WEDLOCKvaries considerably by race. 80% In 2008 (the most recent yearfor which racial breakdown is 8.3%available), over one in three births 70% 66.1%(34 percent) overall in Massachu-setts occurred outside marriage. 60% 58.4% The rate was lowest amongwhite non-Hispanics. Among that 50%group about one in four birthswere non-marital. 40% Among non-Hispanic blacks, 34.0%about six in ten births (58.4 per- 30%cent) were to unmarried women. 26.0%Among Hispanics, about two-thirds of births (66.1 percent) 20%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 Massachusetts heritage.org
  • 10. Racial Composition of All Births and Out-of-Wedlock Birthsin Massachusetts In Massachusetts in 2008, some ALL BIRTHS OUT-OF-WEDLOCK BIRTHS67.8 percent of all births occurredto non-Hispanic whites, 14.2percent occurred to Hispanics, and9.4 percent occurred to non-Hispanic blacks. Because blacks and Hispanics 67.8% White Non- 51.9%are more likely to have children Hispanicwithout being married, theyaccount for disproportionatelylarger shares of all out-of-wedlockbirths. Even so, the largest numberof unwed births are to white non-Hispanic women. In Massachusetts in 2008, 51.9 27.6%percent of all non-marital births Hispanicwere to white non-Hispanics, 27.6 14.2%percent were to Hispanic women,and 16.1 percent were to black 9.4% Black Non-non-Hispanic women. Hispanic 16.1%Source: U.S. Department of Health and 8.6% 4.4% Asian/OtherHuman Services, Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, 2008 NHSdata. Note: Figures have been rounded. Chart 9 • Marriage and Poverty in Massachusetts heritage.org
  • 11. Non-Married White Families Are Eight Times More Likely to Be Poorin Massachusetts Marriage leads to lower poverty PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORrates for whites, blacks, and His-panics. 18% For example, in 2009, the pov- 16.0%erty rate for married white families 16%in Massachusetts was 1.9 percent.But the poverty rate for non- 14%married white families was eighttimes higher at 16 percent. 12% 10% 8% 6% 4% 1.9% 2% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 10 • Marriage and Poverty in Massachusetts heritage.org
  • 12. Non-Married Black Families Are Five Times More Likely to Be Poorin Massachusetts In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORmarried black couples inMassachusetts was 5.8 percent, 30%while the poverty rate for 27.6%non-married black families wasfive times higher at 27.6 percent. 25% 20% 15% 10% 5.8% 5% 0%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Married Families Non-Married FamiliesCommunity Survey, 2007– 2009 data. Chart 11 • Marriage and Poverty in Massachusetts heritage.org
  • 13. Non-Married Hispanic Families Are Four Times More Likely to Be Poorin Massachusetts In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORHispanic married families inMassachusetts was 11.9 percent, 50%while the poverty rate amongnon-married families was nearly 44.7% 45%four times higher at 44.7 percent. 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 11.9% 10% 5% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 12 • Marriage and Poverty in Massachusetts heritage.org
  • 14. 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.
  • 15. 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