April 16, 2002 | News Releases on Family and Marriage
WASHINGTON, Apr. 16, 2002-What's the single best thing the federal government can do to cut child poverty rates? According to a new Heritage Foundation paper, it should promote marriage among poor couples with children.
An analysis of government data by Heritage analysts Robert Rector, Kirk Johnson and Patrick Fagan finds that the decline in marriage rates since the 1960s has contributed heavily to the high levels of child poverty recorded over the last three decades. What would happen to child poverty rates, they asked, if marriage levels were restored to their 1960 level?
Using data from the Census Bureau to simulate the effects of higher marriage rates-"matching" a portion of single parents with potential spouses of identical age, race and education level-they found:
Promoting marriage, though, does more than simply lift children out of poverty, the Heritage analysts found: A growing body of social science research shows that children born or raised in single-parent families are more at risk for a wide range of social maladies, including academic failure, crime, substance abuse, and emotional and behavioral problems.