Marriage Poverty - Alaska


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Marriage Poverty - Alaska

  1. 1. Marriage: Alaska’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. 2. Growth of Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing in Alaska, 1959–2010 Throughout most of Alaska’s PERCENTAGE OF CHILDREN BORN OUT OF WEDLOCKhistory, out-of-wedlock childbear-ing was rare. 50% In 1964, after the federal gov-ernment began the War on Pov-erty, only 5.8 percent of children 40.8%in Alaska were born outside mar- 40%riage. However, over the next five 37.6%decades, the number rose rapidly.By 2010, 37.6 percent of births inAlaska occurred outside of mar- 30%riage. NationalNote: Data on non-marital births in AlaskaAlaska are unavailable before 1959. 20%However, all states that do have datafor earlier years show low levels ofnon-marital childbearing with littleincrease prior to the mid-1960s.TheAlaska rate before 1959 undoubtedly 10%parallels the national trend shown inthe chart. In the mid-1960s out-of-wedlock childbearing began increasingrapidly in all states. 0%Sources: U.S. Government, U.S. CensusBureau, and National Center for 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010Health Statistics. Chart 1 • Marriage and Poverty in Alaska
  3. 3. In Alaska, Marriage Drops the Probability of Child Povertyby 87 Percent The rapid rise in out-of-wedlock PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES WITH CHILDREN THAT ARE POORchildbearing is a major cause of 30%high levels of child poverty inAlaska. 25.8% Some 25.8 percent of singlemothers with children are poorcompared to 3.4 percent of mar-ried couples with children. 20% Single-parent families withchildren are nearly eight timesmore likely to be poor than fami-lies in which the parents are mar-ried. 10% The higher poverty rate amongsingle-mother families is due bothto the lower education levels of 3.4%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 2 • Marriage and Poverty in Alaska
  4. 4. In Alaska, One-Third of All Families with Children Are Not Married Overall, married couples headtwo-thirds of families withchildren in Alaska. One-third aresingle-parent families. Unmarried Families 33.6% Married Families 66.4%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 3 • Marriage and Poverty in Alaska
  5. 5. In Alaska, 77 Percent of Poor Families with Children Are Not Married Among poor families withchildren in Alaska, aboutthree-quarters are not married. Bycontrast, only 23 percent of poorfamilies with children are headedby married couples. Married Families 23% Unmarried Families 77%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 4 • Marriage and Poverty in Alaska
  6. 6. In Alaska, 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 6.7 percent ofout-of-wedlock births in Alaska Underoccur to girls under age 18. Age 18: By contrast, some 78 percent of 6.7%out-of-wedlock births occur to Ageyoung adult women between the 30–54:ages of 18 and 29. 15.5% Age 18–19: 14.4% Age 25–29: 23.8% Age 20–24: 39.6%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 Alaska
  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%difficulty supporting children by 8.1% Unmarriedthemselves: those with low levels 90% Mothersof education. 42.0% In the U.S., among women who 80%are high school dropouts, about 54.5%65.2 percent of all births occur 70%outside marriage. Among women 65.2% 60%who have only a high school 91.9%diploma, well over half of all births 50%occur outside marriage. By con- Marriedtrast, among women with at least a 40% Motherscollege degree, only 8.1 percent of 58.0%births are out of wedlock. 30% 45.5%Note: Specific data on out-of-wedlock 20%births and maternal education are not 34.8%available in Alaska. However, the pattern 10%varies little between states. Alaska data willbe very similar to the national data 0%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 Alaska
  8. 8. Both Marriage and Education Are Highly Effectivein Reducing Child Poverty in Alaska 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-ents with the same education level. 50% 48.6% For example, in Alaska, thepoverty rate for a single mother 40% 35.5%who has only a high schooldiploma is 35.5 percent, but the 30%poverty rate for a married couplefamily headed by an individual 20%who, similarly, has only a high 16.1%school degree is far lower at 8.2 13.2% 10% 9.8% 8.2%percent. On average, marriage drops the 2.1% 0.7%poverty rate by around 85 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 Alaska
  9. 9. Unwed Birth Rates Vary by Race in Alaska Out-of-wedlock childbearing in PERCENT OF BIRTHS THAT ARE OUT OF WEDLOCKAlaska varies by race. 80% In 2008 (the most recent yearfor which racial breakdown is 8.3%available), 37.6 percent of births in 70% 67.9%Alaska occurred outside marriage.The rate was lowest among non- 60%Hispanic whites. Among thatgroup about one in four births 50% 47.1%were non-marital. Among Hispanics, over one in 40% 37.6%three births were out-of-wedlock. 34.9%Among blacks, nearly half ofbirths were to unmarried women. 30% 24.3% The highest rate was amongnative American Indians: nearly 20%seven in ten births (67.9 percent)were to unmarried women. 10%Source: U.S. Department of Health and 0%Human Services, Centers for Disease All Races White Hispanic Black AmericanControl and Prevention, 2008 NHS Non- Non- Indian/Alaskandata. Hispanic Hispanic Native Chart 8 • Marriage and Poverty in Alaska
  10. 10. Racial Composition of All Births and Out-of-Wedlock Births in Alaska In Alaska in 2008, some 56.9 ALL BIRTHS OUT-OF-WEDLOCK BIRTHSpercent of all births occurred towhite non-Hispanic women, 24.5percent occurred to AmericanIndians/Alaskan natives, 8 percentoccurred to Asians, and 5.7 per-cent occurred to Hispanics. 56.9% White Non- 36.8% Hispanic Because American Indians/Alaskan natives are more likely tohave children without being mar-ried, they account for dispropor-tionately large share of all out-of-wedlock births. In Alaska in 2008, 44.3 percent 44.3%of all non-marital births were to AmericanAmerican Indian/Alaskan natives, 24.5% Indian/36.8 percent were to white non- Alaskan NativeHispanic women, 7.6 percent wereto Asian women, and 5.3 percent 8.0% Asian/Pacific Islander 7.6%occurred to Hispanic women. 5.3% 5.7% Hispanic 3.5% Black Non-Hispanic 4.4% 1.4% Not stated 1.6%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 Alaska
  11. 11. Non-Married White Families Are 15 Times More Likely to Be Poorin Alaska Marriage leads to lower poverty PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORrates for whites, American Indians,blacks, and Hispanics. 25% For example, in 2009, the pov-erty rate for married white familiesin Alaska was 1.2 percent. But thepoverty rate for non-married white 20% 17.9%families was 15 times higher at17.9 percent. 15% 10% 5% 1.2% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 10 • Marriage and Poverty in Alaska
  12. 12. Non-Married American Indian Families Are Three Times More Likelyto Be Poor in Alaska In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORAmerican Indian and AlaskanNative married families in Alaska 30%was 8.9 percent, while the povertyrate among non-married familieswas nearly three times higher at 25%23.1 percent. 23.1% 20% 15% 10% 8.9% 5% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 11 • Marriage and Poverty in Alaska
  13. 13. Non-Married Hispanic Families Are 18 Times More Likely to Be Poorin Alaska In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORHispanic married families inAlaska was 2.1 percent, while the 45%poverty rate among non-marriedfamilies was 18 times higher at 38.4% 40%38.4 percent. 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 5% 2.1% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 12 • Marriage and Poverty in Alaska
  14. 14. Non-Married Black Families Are Two Times More Likely to Be Poorin Alaska In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORmarried black couples in Alaskawas 3.9 percent, while the poverty 9%rate for non-married black families 8.2%was over two times higher at 8.2 8%percent. 7% 6% 5% 3.9% 4% 3% 2% 1% 0%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, American Married Families Non-Married FamiliesCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 13 • Marriage and Poverty in Alaska
  15. 15. 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.
  16. 16. 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 •