Marriage & Poverty: Nebraska


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Marriage is America's #1 weapon against childhood poverty. This presentation details the impact of marriage on the probability of child poverty in Nebraska.

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Marriage & Poverty: Nebraska

  1. 1. Marriage:Nebraska’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 • January 2012 Richard and Helen DeVos Center for Religion and Civil Society
  2. 2. Growth of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in Nebraska, 1929–2010 Throughout most of Nebraska’s PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCKhistory, out-of-wedlock childbear-ing was rare. 50% In 1968, just four years after thefederal government began the Waron Poverty, only 7.2 percent of 40.8% 40%children in Nebraska were bornoutside marriage. However, overthe next five decades, the number 33.6%rose rapidly. By 2010, 33.6 percent 30%of births in Nebraska occurredoutside of marriage. National Nebraska 20%Note: Data on non-marital births inNebraska are unavailable between1940 and 1967. However, all states thatdo have data for this period show arapid growth in non-marital childbear- 10%ing from the mid-1960s on. TheNebraska trend during this periodundoubtedly parallels the national trendshown in the chart. 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 Nebraska
  3. 3. In Nebraska, Marriage Drops the Probability of Child Povertyby 86 Percent The rapid rise in out-of-wedlock PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN THAT ARE POORchildbearing is a major cause of 40%high levels of child poverty in 36.4%Nebraska. 35% Some 36.4 percent of singlemothers with children were poor 30%compared to 5.2 percent of mar-ried couples with children. 25% Single-parent families withchildren are seven times more 20%likely to be poor than families inwhich the 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 5.2%due 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 Nebraska
  4. 4. In Nebraska, Three in Ten Families with Children Are Not Married Overall, married couples headabout seven in ten families withchildren in Nebraska. Nearly threein ten are single-parent families. Unmarried Families 29.1% Married Families 70.9%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 3 • Marriage and Poverty in Nebraska
  5. 5. In Nebraska, 72 Percent of Poor Families with Children Are Not Married Among poor families withchildren in Nebraska, seven in tenare not married. By contrast, only28.4 percent of poor families withchildren are headed by marriedcouples. Married Families 28.4% Unmarried Families 71.6%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 4 • Marriage and Poverty in Nebraska
  6. 6. In Nebraska, 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 7.2 percent ofout-of-wedlock births in Nebraska Underoccur to girls under age 18. Age 18: 7.2% By contrast, some 79 percent ofout-of-wedlock births occur to Ageyoung adult women between the 30–54:ages of 18 and 29. 14.3% Age 18–19: 14.9% Age 25–29: 23.0% Age 20–24: 40.6%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 Nebraska
  7. 7. 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% Unmarrieddifficulty supporting children by 5.3% Mothersthemselves: those with low levels 90%of education. 33.1% 80% In Nebraska, among women 54.0%who are high school dropouts, 70% 61.7%about 61.7 percent of all births 60%occur outside marriage. Among 94.7% Marriedwomen who have only a high 50% Mothersschool diploma, well over half ofall births occur outside marriage. 40% 66.9%By contrast, among women with at 30%least a college degree, only 5.3 46.0%percent of births are out of wed- 20% 38.3%lock. 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 NHS Years) Years) Years) Years)data.  Chart 6 • Marriage and Poverty in Nebraska
  8. 8. Both Marriage and Education Are Highly Effectivein Reducing Child Poverty in Nebraska The poverty rate of married PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES Poverty Rate of Families bycouples with children is dramati- WITH CHILDREN THAT Single Education and Marital Status ARE POOR Marriedcally lower than the rate for house- of the Head of Householdholds headed by single parents. 60%This is true even when the married 56.2%couple is compared to single par-ents with the same education level. 50% For example, in Nebraska, the 41.0%poverty rate for a single mother 40%who has only a high school 31.2%diploma is 41 percent, but the 30%poverty rate for a married couplefamily headed by an individual 19.7% 20%who, similarly, has only a highschool degree is far lower at 6.6 10.6%percent. 10% 6.6% 3.9% On average, marriage drops the 1.3%poverty rate by around 81 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 Nebraska
  9. 9. Unwed Birth Rates Vary Strongly by Race in Nebraska 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), more than one in three 70% 68.3%births (33.9 percent) in Nebraskaoccurred outside marriage. The 60%rate was lowest among non-Hispanic whites at over one in 50.4% 50%four births (27 percent). AmongHispanics, half of births were outof wedlock. Among blacks, more 40%than two in every three births were 33.9%to unmarried women (68.3 per- 30% 27.0%cent). 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 8 • Marriage and Poverty in Nebraska
  10. 10. Racial Composition of All Births and Out-of-Wedlock Births in Nebraska In Nebraska in 2008, some 73.8 ALL BIRTHS OUT-OF-WEDLOCK BIRTHSpercent of all births occurred tonon-Hispanic whites, 15.8 percentoccurred to Hispanics, and 6.5percent occurred to non-Hispanicblacks. Because blacks and Hispanicsare more likely to have childrenwithout being married, they 73.8% White Non- 58.8%account for disproportionately Hispaniclarger shares of all out-of-wedlockbirths. Even so, the largest numberof unwed births were to whitenon-Hispanic women. In Nebraska in 2008, 58.8 per-cent of all non-marital births were 23.6%to non-Hispanic whites, 23.6percent were to Hispanic women, Hispanic 15.8%and 13.1 percent were to black Black Non-non-Hispanic women. Hispanic 13.1% 6.5% 3.9% Asian/Other 4.5%Source: U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services, Centers for DiseaseControl and Prevention, 2008 NHSdata. Note: Figures have been rounded. Chart 9 • Marriage and Poverty in Nebraska
  11. 11. Non-Married White Families Are Eight Times More Likely to Be Poorin Nebraska Marriage leads to lower poverty PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORrates for whites, blacks, and His-panics. 25% For example, in 2009, the pov- 22.9%erty rate for married white familiesin Nebraska was 2.9 percent. Butthe poverty rate for non-married 20%white families was nearly eighttimes higher at 22.9 percent. 15% 10% 5% 2.9% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 10 • Marriage and Poverty in Nebraska
  12. 12. Non-Married Black Families Are Four Times More Likely to Be Poorin Nebraska In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORmarried black couples in Nebraskawas 12.8 percent, while the pov- 50%erty rate for non-married black 45.4%families was nearly four times 45%higher at 45.4 percent. 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 12.8% 10% 5% 0%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Married Families Non-Married FamiliesCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 11 • Marriage and Poverty in Nebraska
  13. 13. Non-Married Hispanic Families Are Four Times More Likely to Be Poorin Nebraska In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORHispanic married families inNebraska was 12.6 percent, while 50%the poverty rate among non-married families was nearly four 45% 44.3%times higher at 44.3 percent. 40% 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 12.6% 10% 5% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 12 • Marriage and Poverty in Nebraska
  14. 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. 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 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 •