Marriage: the most direct way to reduce child poverty

The latest Voices for Children “Kids Count” report came out recently with New Mexico ranked 49th. While much of the debate has centered around New Mexico’s dismal rankings and assigning blame for it, liberals have centered their “solutions” on a new pre-k program. Rio Grande Foundation has, of course, proposed a variety of free market solutions to alleviating poverty in New Mexico. The fact is that neither method will have an immediate impact in the same way that the best private-sector anti-poverty program would have. That “program” is called marriage and as the chart below illustrates, it is highly effective.

Creating policies to save marriage is admittedly a challenge and I admit that RGF is not expert on the matter, but given this data, it has to at least be mentioned (and the left certainly won’t do that). Perhaps government can at least stop creating welfare programs that dis-incentivize marriage?

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4 Replies to “Marriage: the most direct way to reduce child poverty”

  1. Yes. Yes. Yes.

    Here is a direct quote from the report: “In 2012, 37 percent of single-parent families had incomes below the poverty line, compared with 9 percent of married couples with children .”(p 36).

    The national average of children living in single parent homes is 35%. The N.M. average is an incredible 44% (p 49).

    I once heard Daniel Patrick Moynihan state that the strongest correlation to poverty is being raised in a single parent home, and that the leading causes of being raised in a single parent home are divorce and illegitimacy. The Albuquerque Journal newspaper article referencing the report cites the extraordinary figure that the single parent rate in N.M. in 1992 was 23% but 44% in 2014. What are we doing as a society to discourage illegitimacy and divorce?

    In looking at the bottom 10 states in the report’s rankings, 5 have massive illegal immigration from Mexico. Those states are CA,TX,AZ,NV and NM. Coincidence? I don’t think so. The report does not exclude illegal aliens or their children. However, based on studies I have seen from Pew, the majority of illegal aliens from Mexico are poor, speak little or no English and have less than a high school diploma. They continue being poor in the U.S. If we controlled our borders and illegal immigration, much of the poverty in the Southwest and California would vanish.

    Here is the link to the full report, which makes fascinating reading:http://www.aecf.org/m/resourcedoc/aecf-2014kidscountdatabook-2014.pdf

    1. There is no doubt that having large numbers of immigrants from impoverished nations like Mexico and other Central American countries drives average numbers down and raises poverty rates. They are also certainly better off here than they are in their home countries. It would be great if data reflected that reality.

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