Save the Black Children - Get Married!

The Poverty Cure: Get Married - Black children bear the brunt of single parenthood’s harms.


71% of African-American infants are born to unmarried women, compared with 29% for white women. The birth of a child doesn’t motivate many African-American couples to get married: 66% of black children are not living with married parents. Nor does it keep their unmarried biological parents together. About seven in 10 white children, from newborn to 18 years of age, are living with their biological parents, compared with one in three black children.

This matters because—as family-structure researchers Sara McLanahan and Isabel Sawhill note in the Future of Children, “most scholars now agree that children raised by two biological parents in a stable marriage do better than children in other family forms across a wide variety of outcomes.” Cohabitation is not a replacement for marriage.

On average, cohabiting couples stay together for only 18 months. Two in three children born to cohabitating couples will see their biological parents break up by age 12, compared with only one in four in married-couple families. That fact is vital because family instability is a major source of poor outcomes for children.

It turns out that the effects of family instability are measurably worse for boys than for girls—and worst of all for African-American boys. In a landmark new study, a research team headed by MIT’s David Autor and Northwestern University’s David Figlio find that relative to their sisters, boys born to poorly educated unmarried mothers have higher levels of truancy and behavioral problems throughout elementary and middle school, are less likely to graduate from high school, and are more likely as juveniles to commit serious crimes. Many of the gaps between brothers and sisters are larger for blacks than for whites.

... we should never imagine that efforts by government and civil society, however effective, can fully substitute for the influence of stable, intact families. True equal opportunity for African-Americans will take not only programs to boost black incomes, neighborhoods, schools and job opportunities, but also mothers and fathers living and working together to raise their children.
Comment: Another sad note: According to 2010 census data, African Americans make up 12.6% of the U.S. population2 but the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that black women accounted for 35.4% of all abortions in 2009 (source Google). Chart below source. Cake topper photo source.

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