Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Heritage Foundation Culture Watch - Poverty Explodes: Root Cause Is the Collapse of Marriage

New data released today by the U.S. Census Bureau show the largest increase in poverty in U.S. recorded history. An additional 3.7 million Americans fell into poverty in 2009. Buried in these numbers are the children born to single mothers, who are five times more likely to live in poverty than children born to married parents. Today, over 40 percent of children are born outside wedlock, and the numbers are particularly devastating for Hispanics (51.3 percent) and African Americans (71.6 percent).

A new report and chart book by Robert Rector of The Heritage Foundation illustrates how this steady rise in out-of-wedlock childbearing is one of the major causes of child poverty in the U.S. today. The report also links this collapse in marriage to a rise in welfare spending.

Since the beginning of the War on Poverty, the U.S. has spent $15.9 trillion on means-tested welfare. And today, spending on welfare programs is 13 times greater than it was in 1964. By undermining intact families and eroding the work ethic in low-income communities, the welfare state has encouraged dependency and intergenerational poverty.

If the United States is serious about reducing poverty and reining in federal welfare spending, it must strengthen marriage. We can do this in several ways, including reducing anti-marriage penalties in current welfare programs and providing factual information about the benefits of marriage throughout low-income communities.

Find more policy ideas on combating The Unsustainable Growth of Welfare and Making Federal Policy Marriage-Friendly at the recently launched “Solutions for America” website.

Uncover the state by state Impact of Marriage on the Probability of Child Poverty by clicking on a state for more in-depth analysis and charts.

Read the full article, images, graphs and links here...

And read even more here...

And even more here...

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