November 08, 2017

Study: Marriage, 2-Parent Households Help Families Escape Poverty

Rebel Staff

Over the past few years, the left has launched an informal campaign against traditional marriage, making it seem like an "old-fashioned" institution. New research indicates, however, that marriage is actually the key factor separating poor families from wealthier ones. 

Professor Bill Galston, President Clinton’s domestic policy advisor and now a senior fellow at Brookings, explained in the early 1990s that an American need only do three things to avoid living in poverty: graduate from high school, marry before having a child, and have that child after age twenty. Only 8 percent of people who do so, he reported, will be poor, while 79 percent who fail to do all three will.

Sociologists have referred to keeping these things in proper order as the “success sequence.” It remains true, according to a new research investigation from the Brookings and the American Enterprise institutes. It takes a deeper look at this “first comes love, then comes marriage” sequence by class and generation.

The increase of baby carriages coming before marriage is terribly alarming among the working poor. Working-class women are nearly three times more likely to have babies out of wedlock than upper-class women. Poor women are about five times more likely. These two groups are far less likely to be married overall and twice as likely to be cohabiting, suffering further from inherent instability of living together without marriage.

 

These troubling family-path trends leading to decreased life success are unfortunately true for millennials, as well.

A recent report on this topic focusing on millennials reports that 97 percent of those who follow the success sequence—earn at least a high-school diploma, work, and marry before having children—will not be poor as they enter their 30s. This is largely true for ethnic minorities and those who grew up in poor families. But sadly, fewer millennials are keeping these things in order, compared to their Boomer and Xer forbearers.

 

These statistics are very alarming, as they show that the family unit has completely broken down in the U.S. A staggering 72 percent of African American children grow up in a single parent household in the U.S.  Meanwhile, inner-city gang violence and gun crimes are on the rise, as children with no parental guidance are searching for alternative ways to find support in the world. 

It's clear that when the traditional family unit breaks down, civilized society quickly follows it. Without traditional homes, more and more children are growing up without strong values.

Furthermore, these children find themselves in a vicious cycle of poverty, as they often end up parenting children out of wedlock themselves. The left, based on its actions, seems unfazed that the very policies it promotes are in great part what are causing this vicious cycle to perpetuate. 

What do you think about this? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.

Comments
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commented 2017-11-10 10:41:13 -0500
Al Peterson commented 9 hours ago

“Andrew, you are inadvertently supporting the claim as made. “Parents support them the whole way” you say. Indeed. You mean those parents who married and escaped poverty so they had something to help their offspring with?”

I would say you’d have to go back another generation. Most Boomers were raised in what was firmly the middle-class, and I’d further argue that the economic circumstances circa 1950 that DID allow the mass expansion of the middle class no longer exist.

I will not dispute that divorce destroys wealth, but at the same time, simply having a traditional family is not enough to build it. Education’s the biggest determinant of social status now, there are plenty of nuclear families who will never exit the working class for lack of opportunity, whereas those educated Millennials find maximum prosperity as couples without kids, and extended singlehood is about as viable as a couple with kids. Again, it’s largely access to educational opportunity. Yes, indirectly related to parental support, but again we’re in different economic circumstances than the Boomers were at the time.
commented 2017-11-10 01:03:32 -0500
ANDREW STEPHENSON commented 12 hours ago
The Millennial and X-er model works because they do wait, and that’s purely a product because they started off affluent enough to find their footing before nesting – and get help from parents who can support them the whole way. Affluence begets stability as much as vice-versa. People make fun of Trudeau for it, but he’s actually pretty representative of a successful modern family. It works, but it’s well lubricated by pre-existing wealth.
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Andrew, you are inadvertently supporting the claim as made. “Parents support them the whole way” you say. Indeed. You mean those parents who married and escaped poverty so they had something to help their offspring with?
commented 2017-11-09 21:40:51 -0500
Welfare states create a lot of poverty, and they deny it!
commented 2017-11-09 14:24:46 -0500
Tell us something we didn’t know.
commented 2017-11-09 12:50:28 -0500
It’s an interesting topic, but I think the conclusions presented here are quite superficial. The model of the downtown, condo dwelling professional class who dally in grad school until 30, meet at age 33 and might have a single kid at 38 (optional, if you can afford it; and if you do have one the nanny or grandma raises it) is quite far removed from the Boomer’s “traditional” marry early and have several kids model. The Millennial and X-er model works because they do wait, and that’s purely a product because they started off affluent enough to find their footing before nesting – and get help from parents who can support them the whole way. Affluence begets stability as much as vice-versa. People make fun of Trudeau for it, but he’s actually pretty representative of a successful modern family. It works, but it’s well lubricated by pre-existing wealth.

At the other end you do have intergenerational poverty but that’s not solely attributable to the “breakdown of the family unit”. There are a huge number of factors, but lack of opportunity is a huge one. The affluent wait because they have long term goals to aspire to. The poor don’t, and won’t.
commented 2017-11-09 11:51:57 -0500
Isnt it great God does not say “I told you so”!
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