It’s the Single Parenting, Stupid

The annual Kids Count report is out, and nothing’s changed since 2016: “[F]or a second consecutive year … New Mexico [ranked] 49th in the country for overall child well-being and dead last in education.”

As is always worth noting when Kids Count is released, the publisher of the report, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is a far-left organization. It pushes for “bold and decisive action” (translation: Big Government) to improve the condition of children in America.

If the foundation were truly committed to making every kid count, it would be much more vocal on the role illegitimacy and divorce play in poverty and abuse. It would also be intensely exploring how government programs promote out-of-wedlock births and family fragmentation.

It’s hardly surprising that the three states that rank worst overall on Kids Count in 2017 also rank worst on illegitimacy. Mississippi is rock-bottom on both metrics, while Louisiana and New Mexico switch places when it comes to unmarried mothers. Other top-ten states in out-of-wedlock births that cluster toward the bottom of Kids Count include South Carolina, Nevada, Arizona, Florida, and Georgia. High-divorce states (e.g., West Virginia, Nevada, Arkansas, Alabama) tend to fare poorly on child outcomes, too.

To its credit, Kids Count makes note of the undeniable data:

Children growing up in single-parent families typically have access to fewer economic and emotional resources than children in two-parent families. In 2015, 35 percent of single-parent families had incomes below the poverty line, compared with 8 percent of married couples with children. They also have poorer health and educational outcomes and are more likely to drop out of school, to have or cause a teen pregnancy and to experience a divorce in adulthood.

But inexcusably, the issue isn’t addressed until page 43 of the report — and the main text (before the start of endnotes) stops at page 45!

While there are many well-intentioned members of the left-leaning “for the children” movement, they are unlikely to make much progress on the problem they claim to combat until single parenting is recognized as a force multiplier for social pathologies. “No judgements” may feel good, but as social policy, it’s been a disaster.

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5 Replies to “It’s the Single Parenting, Stupid”

  1. It has always been my understanding that the major reasons for children being raised in single parent homes are illegitimacy and divorce. Do any government actions encourage illegitimacy and divorce? Of course. Welfare payments to unwed mothers and no fault divorce. A simple solution to getting parties to think more seriously about marriage would be to limit no fault divorce to those couples who have been legally separated for one year.The state legislature could pass such a law in five minutes if it wanted to.

    1. Charles, you hit it right on the nose. Our government aids and abets sexual looseness with their government assistance and lack of accountability. Put those parents to work! Every 9 months they hatch another unwed unwanted pregnancy and the tax payer/gov. offers incentives for such actions? Is it any wonder so many of our population is giving birth and getting welfare? Children having children is no coincidence , it’s a tradition handed down from unwed parent to their child. Why should they work? Why should they stay in school? An now a basic job such as flipping burgers is asked to pay higher wages to uneducated people? I don’t appreciate my tax dollars being misappropriated in a loosing investment! No more food stamps or money. Give them child care and put them to work or put them in a trade school. WHAT IS THEIR INCENTIVE TO BECOME EDUCATED IF THEY KEEP GETTING THE EASY WAY OUT?!!!!!!!!!

  2. There are a few things government can do, such as tying welfare benefits to school/preschool/parenting class attendance, but government cannot change a culture that fails to discourage truancy and out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Part of the problem is that the social support system of community groups, churches and families does little or nothing to establish social norms or discourage dysfunctional behavior. The organizations in the best position to exert moral authority, such as advocacy groups and particularly the Catholic church, use their influence to lobby for more government programs instead of leading their constituents.

    1. I asked the parish priest why we never hear a denouncement of immoral behavior from the pulpit. (general response)The fallowing was the answer.
      The reason our parish refuses to exert moral authority and guidance on the immoral is money. We would rather have a record number attendance than to alienate any one. That’s why we also include everyone no matter how perverse, LGBT’s etc. Not to voice what the bible says in such matters but to gain their support and their donations. I have stood by the Catholic church through allot, most Catholics have, but I am done with condoning perversion! Some Church’s do talk about sexual immorality and other derelict behavior but many don’t want to hear that, and leave.

      That’s why I switched and begin attending a church that makes a weekly sermon out of moral issues. Our community, our population needs guidance and not straight to hell as it is going right now.

      1. Thanks for your input, Maria.

        What interests me, as a non-religious person, is how uncommon illegitimacy is in many parts of the world, regardless of theological beliefs.

        In Korea (the ROK), Turkey, and Japan — not exactly places where Judeo-Christian culture prevails — out-of-wedlock births are all but nonexistent. In some highly developed European countries, where religion of any type is basically a non-factor, the illegitimacy rate is significantly lower than it is in the U.S.

        It’s a complicated picture, to be sure. But there’s no doubt that in America, the stigma attached to bringing children into the world without a stable, two-parent household is gone. I think we need to push ALL major institutions in the country — schools, media, government, churches, etc. — to recognize the reality of the problem. I long for the day when giving birth out of wedlock is about as popular as smoking cigarettes. (An undesirable activity, for the most part, but something that doesn’t do nearly as much damage to society as a 41 percent illegitimacy rate.)

        Almost three decades ago, the American Enterprise Institute’s Nicholas Eberstadt wrote that the solution to the illegitimacy crisis “lies in the hearts and consciences of America’s adults.” We have very few adults left, it appears.

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