February 7, 2011
Did you know that:
1) most Americans desire to marry?
2) marriage is good for people—women, men and children?
We celebrate Valentine’s day in February, so it seems like the right time to take a look at marriage and the many ways it helps people.
Marriage really is beneficial—especially for children. It is the. major. poverty buster for kids. A child living with her married mom and dad is unlikely to live even one year of childhood in poverty. Married parents also positively influence a child’s physical and emotional health, and educational achievement.
It’s not just kids who benefit from marriage. Married men and women have better emotional and physical health than their unmarried peers, and married men even make more money than single men.
Still not convinced? Need some stats? We’re happy to provide those details.
We know that the people ditching marriage may be getting all the headlines, but this month we’re singing the praises of the unsung heroes and heroines who go the distance for a lifetime.
In 1960, only 9 percent of all children lived with a single parent. By 2005, that percentage jumped to 26 percent.
The federal government’s War on Poverty began in 1964 when only 6.3 percent of children in the U.S. were born outside of marriage. By 2008, four out of 10 births occurred outside of marriage.
In 2008, more than a third (36.5 percent) of single mothers with children were poor, compared to only 6.4 percent of married couples with chidlren.
A child born to unmarried parents is six times more likely to experience poverty in his or her lifetime than one born in an intact family.
“Children who grow up in a household with only one biological parent are worse off, on average, than children who grow up in a household with both of their biological parents.” —Sara McLanahan, sociologist, Princeton University
The first-ever estimate of the taxpayer cost of family fragmentation–which includes divorce and unwed childbearing–is $112 billion per year in federal, state, and local costs, or more than $1 trillion per decade. This is a low estimate.
Sociologists estimate that marriage would lift 60 percent of single-mother households out of poverty, then the total number of children in poverty would decline by 36.1 percent.
If you’re interested in more – practical – resources on this topic, visit Focus on the Family’s Boundless website for tangible ideas on marrying well.