Marriage & Poverty: Wyoming


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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 Wyoming.

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Marriage & Poverty: Wyoming

  1. 1. Marriage:Wyoming’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 Wyoming, 1929–2010 Throughout most of Wyoming’s 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 3.7 percent of children in 40%Wyoming were born out of wed-lock. However, over the next four 35% 34.0%decades, the number rose rapidly.By 2010, 34 percent of births in 30%Wyoming 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 Wyoming
  3. 3. Death of Marriage in Wyoming, 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- 90%tury, marital births were the normin Wyoming. In 1964, over 96percent of births occurred tomarried couples. 80% However, in the mid-1960s, themarital birth rate began to fallsteadily. By 2010, only 66 percent 70%of births in Wyoming occurred tomarried couples. 66.0% 60%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. 50%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 Wyoming
  4. 4. In Wyoming, 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 35%high levels of child poverty in 32.5%Wyoming. 30% Some 32.5 percent of singlemothers with children are poorcompared to 4.2 percent of mar- 25%ried couples with children. Single-parent families with 20%children are eight times morelikely 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 4.2% 5%due 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 Wyoming
  5. 5. In Wyoming, Three in Ten Families with Children Are Not Married Overall, married couples headabout seven in ten families withchildren in Wyoming. Over threein ten are single-parent families. Unmarried Families 30.5% Married Families 69.5%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 4 • Marriage and Poverty in Wyoming
  6. 6. In Wyoming, 72 Percent of Poor Families with Children Are Not Married Among poor families withchildren in Wyoming, nearlythree-quarters are not married. Bycontrast, 27.7 percent of poorfamilies with children are headedby married couples. Married Families 27.7% Unmarried Families 72.3%Source: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 5 • Marriage and Poverty in Wyoming
  7. 7. In Wyoming, 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 8.3 percent ofout-of-wedlock births in Wyoming Underoccur to girls under age 18. Age 18: By contrast, some 79 percent of 8.3%out-of-wedlock births occur to Ageyoung adult women between the 30–54:ages of 18 and 29. 13.1% Age 18–19: 17.0% Age 25–29: 21.6% Age 20–24: 40.0%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 Wyoming
  8. 8. 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% 6.4% Unmarrieddifficulty supporting children by Mothersthemselves: those with low levels 90% 27.5%of education. 80% In Wyoming, among women 48.6%who are high school dropouts, 70% 64.5%about 64.5 percent of all births 60% Marriedoccur outside marriage. Among 93.6% Motherswomen who have only a high 50%school diploma, nearly half of all 40%births occur outside marriage. By 72.5%contrast, among women with at 30%least a college degree, only 6.4 51.4%percent of births are out of wed- 20% 35.5%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 NHSdata.  Years) Years) Years) Years) Chart 7 • Marriage and Poverty in Wyoming
  9. 9. Both Marriage and Education Are Highly Effectivein Reducing Child Poverty in Wyoming 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% 48.4% For example, in Wyoming, thepoverty rate for a single mother 40% 35.4%who has only a high schooldiploma is 35.4 percent, but the 30%poverty rate for a married couple 22.3%family headed by an individual 19.7% 20%who, similarly, has only a highschool degree is far lower at3.2 percent. 10% 8.6% 3.2% 4.9% On average, marriage drops the 1.4%poverty rate by about 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 8 • Marriage and Poverty in Wyoming
  10. 10. Unwed Birth Rates Vary Strongly by Race in Wyoming Out-of-wedlock childbearing PERCENT OF BIRTHS THAT ARE OUT OF WEDLOCKvaries by race. 70% In 2008, 34.6 percent of allbirths in Wyoming occurred out- 8.3%side marriage. The rate was lowest 60% 56.9%among non-Hispanic whites.Among that group, three in ten 51.2%births were non-marital. 50% Among Hispanics, over half ofbirths were out of wedlock. 40%Among blacks, 56.9 percent were 34.6%to unmarried women. 30.0% 30% 20% 10%Source: U.S. Department of Health and 0%Human Services, Centers for Disease All Races White Hispanic BlackControl and Prevention, 2008 NHS Non- Non-data. Hispanic Hispanic Chart 9 • Marriage and Poverty in Wyoming
  11. 11. Racial Composition of All Births and Out-of-Wedlock Births in Wyoming In Wyoming in 2008, some ALL BIRTHS OUT-OF-WEDLOCK BIRTHS79.9 percent of all births occurredto non-Hispanic whites, 13.4percent occurred to Hispanics, and3.3 percent occurred to AmericanIndians. Because Hispanics and Ameri-can Indians are more likely to have 79.9% White Non- 69.3%children without being married, Hispanicthey account for a larger share ofall out-of-wedlock births. Even so,most unwed births are to whitenon-Hispanic women. In Wyoming in 2008, 69.3percent of all non-marital birthswere to non-Hispanic whites, 19.7percent were to Hispanic women, 19.7%and 7 percent were to American 13.4% HispanicIndians. 7.0% 3.3% American Indian 1.0% Asian/Pacific Islander 0.7% 0.7% Black Non-Hispanic 1.2%Source: U.S. Department of Health andHuman Services, Centers for Disease 1.7% Not Stated/Other 2.1%Control and Prevention, 2008 NHSdata. Note: Figures have been rounded. Chart 10 • Marriage and Poverty in Wyoming
  12. 12. Non-Married White Families Are Ten Times More Likely to Be Poorin Wyoming Marriage leads to lower poverty PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORrates for whites, Hispanics, andAmerican Indians. 30% For example, in 2009, the pov-erty rate for married white families 25.2%in Wyoming was 2.5 percent. But 25%the poverty rate for non-marriedwhite families was ten timeshigher at 25.2 percent. 20% 15% 10% 5% 2.5% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 11 • Marriage and Poverty in Wyoming
  13. 13. Non-Married Hispanic Families Are Three Times More Likely to Be Poorin Wyoming In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORHispanic married families in Wyo-ming was 8.4 percent, while the 25%poverty rate among non-married 23.4%families was nearly three timeshigher at 23.4 percent. 20% 15% 10% 8.4% 5% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 12 • Marriage and Poverty in Wyoming
  14. 14. Non-Married American Indian Families Are More Than Four TimesMore Likely to Be Poor in Wyoming In 2009, the poverty rate for PERCENTAGE OF FAMILIES THAT ARE POORmarried American Indian familiesin Wyoming was 8.2 percent, 40%while the poverty rate amongnon-married families was over 35.3%four times higher at 35.3 percent. 35% 30% 25% 20% 15% 10% 8.2% 5% 0% Married Families Non-Married FamiliesSource: U.S. Census Bureau, AmericanCommunity Survey, 2007–2009 data. Chart 13 • Marriage and Poverty in Wyoming
  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 •