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effects_of_single_parents_on_poverty_rates [2015/10/20 06:08]
cordell [1. Simulation Study]
effects_of_single_parents_on_poverty_rates [2016/12/07 10:26] (current)
marri
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-==========Effects of Single ​Parents ​on Poverty========== +==========Effects of Single ​Parenthood ​on Poverty==========
-//Research Synthesis Paper//: [[http://​www.heritage.org/​research/​reports/​2002/​04/​the-effect-of-marriage-on-child-poverty|The Effects of Marriage on Child Poverty]]+
  
-The 1960s War on Poverty ​was intended to eliminate child poverty nationwide through a variety of income transfers and human development programsHoweverduring the first three decades of the War on Poverty, ​there was little net decline in the child poverty rate. The lack of progress ​in reducing child poverty since 1965 can be explained ​in part by the [[effects_of_marriage_on_child_poverty|erosion of marriage]] ​and the growth ​of [[effects.of.single.parents.on.financial.stability|poverty-prone single-parent families]]+Despite government spending over $22 trillion(($22 trillion in constant 2012 dollars; Robert Rector and Rachel Sheffield, "The War on Poverty ​After 50 Years" Heritage Foundation Backgrounder No2955 (September 2014)[[http://​thf_media.s3.amazonaws.com/​2014/​pdf/​BG2955.pdf]] (accessed November 2016).)) on anti-poverty programs since the 1960s War on Poverty ​began, the child poverty rate has barely decreased: from 20.7 percent ​in 1965 to 19.2 percent ​in 2015.((U.S. Census Bureau, "​Historical Poverty Tables: People ​and Families 1959 to 2015," Poverty Status ​of People, by Age, Race, and Hispanic Origin Table 3, [[http://www.census.gov/​data/​tables/​time-series/​demo/​income-poverty/​historical-poverty-people.html]] (accessed November 2016).)) The War on Poverty largely failed because it ignored the role of marriage in reducing ​poverty. Poverty is most prevalent in non-intact families. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, ​single-parent families ​are significantly more likely to fall into poverty than are married-couple families.((U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2015 and 2016 Annual Social and Economic Supplements,​ “Table 4: Families in Poverty by Type of Family: ​ 2014 and 2015”.)) 
 +\\
  
-What would the child poverty rate be today if single-parent families had remained at the levels that existed before the beginning of the War on Poverty? To answer the question, researchers attempted to simulate the effects of higher marriage rates using data from the U.S. Census Bureau for the year 2000.((For a complete analysis of the methodology used, see [[http://www.heritage.org/​research/​reports/​2002/​04/​the-effect-of-marriage-on-child-poverty|“The Effects of Marriage on Child Poverty”]]))  ​+{{ :effects_of_single_parenthood_on_poverty_children_in_poverty.png?​direct&​500 ​|Children in Poverty ​by Family Structure}} 
 +\\
  
-=====1Simulation Study=====+Over 2 million children reside in single-parent families.((U.S. Census Bureau, Decennial Census, 1960, and Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplements,​ 1968 to 2014, available at [[http://​www.census.gov/​hhes/​families/​data/​children.html]] (accessed November 2016).)) Never married single mother families constitute the greatest portion of single parent families. While the share of divorced and separated single mothers has decreased in recent years (although the numbers are still high), the share of never married single mothers continues to rapidly rise.((U.S. Census Bureau, Decennial Census, 1960, and Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplements,​ 1968 to 2014, available at [[http://​www.census.gov/​hhes/​families/​data/​children.html]] (accessed November 2016).)) This trend is particularly alarming because, of all family structures, children of never married mothers are the most likely to experience poverty. In 2015, 49.8 percent of children under age 18 who lived with a never married mother were in poverty.((U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, Current Population Survey, 2015 Annual and Social Economic Supplement, Table C8, available at [[http://​www.census.gov/​hhes/​families/​data/​cps2015C.html]] (accessed November 2016).)) It is also notable in the chart above that cohabitation seems to make little difference in lowering the poverty rate.  
 +\\
  
-To measure the effect of single parenthood on poverty rates, researchers paired 7.6 million single parents with similar non-married persons within the Current Population Survey (CPS) to form 7.6 million new simulated “marriages.” In creating these simulated marriages, researchers attempted to mimic socially realistic marriage patterns. Single mothers were paired with non-married men who were identical in race, age, and level of education.((In matching potential spouses by race, three categories were usedwhite, black, and other.)) Similarly, single fathers were paired ​with non-married women who were identical in race, age, and level of education.+{{ :effects_of_single_parenthood_on_poverty_children_living_with_never_married_mother.png?​direct&​500 |Children Living ​with a Never Married Mother}} 
 +\\
  
- When a simulated married family is created, a new total family income variable is also created by combining the original incomes of the two “partners.” Any cash welfare assistance is subtracted from the total money income of the newly created family, since most individuals lose their cash welfare/ Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF) assistance benefits when they marry. The analysis next takes into account the large differences in earnings between married and non-married men (CPS data reveals that married men, on average, earn 40 percent more than non-married men who are similar in race, age, and education).+=====1Government Dependence=====
  
-After simulating ​higher level of marriage ​in societywe calculated ​the effect ​of increased ​marriage on child poverty—first by measuring poverty based on a family’s “money income,” and secondly based on a broader definition ​of income ​that includes ​the Earned Income Tax Credit ​(EITC) and the value of food stamps.+According to the 2015 American Community Survey, single mother families have median family income ​of $33,​342—less than half the family income of married families ($82,​078).((U.S. Census Bureau/ American FactFinder, B19126: Median Family Income ​in the Past 12 Months (in 2015 Inflation-Adjusted Dollars) By Family Type by Presence of Own Children Under 18 Years)2015 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, available at [[http://​factfinder.census.gov/​faces/​tableservices/​jsf/​pages/​productview.xhtml?​src=bkmk]] (accessed November 2016).)) Non-intact families are more likely to receive welfare than are married couples.((Daphne Hernandez and Kathleen M. Ziol-Guest, “Income Volatility and Family Structure Patterns: Association with Stability and Change in Food Stamp Program Participation,​” //Journal of Family and Economic Issues// 30, no. 4 (2009): 366. As cited in Patrick F. Fagan, Andrew J. Kidd, and Henry Potrykus, “Marriage and Economic Well-Being: The Economy of the Family Rises or Falls with Marriage,​” (May 2011). Available at [[http://​marri.frc.org/​get.cfm?​i=RS11E03]]. Accessed 20 July 2011.)) According to the 2016 Annual and Social Economic Supplement, children raised by single mothers are almost six times more likely than children raised by married parents to receive public assistance.((U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2016 Annual Social and Economic Supplement, Table C8, available at [[http://​www.census.gov/​hhes/​families/​data/​cps2016C.html]] (accessed November 2016).)) The same Census report shows that 10.4 percent ​of married-parent families receive food stamps, versus 44.9 percent of single mother families and 22.3 percent of single father families.((U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2016 Annual Social and Economic Supplement, Table C8, available at [[http://​www.census.gov/​hhes/​families/​data/​cps2016C.html]] (accessed November 2016).)) Moreover, the anti-marriage ​bias in the welfare system penalizes single mothers who marry an employed husband, therefore perpetuating single parenthood and out of wedlock birth, and necessitating continued reliance ​on government benefits.((Patrick F. Fagan, Robert W. Patterson, Robert Rector, "​Marriage and Welfare Reform: The Overwhelming Evidence that Marriage Education Works,"​ Heritage Foundation Backgrounder #1606 (October 2002), available at [[http://​www.heritage.org/​research/​reports/​2002/​10/​marriage-and-welfare-reform]] (accessed November 2016).)) Dependence ​on government welfare programs can have harmful effects on children. After controlling for relevant social and economic factors, Congressional Budget Office Director June O'​Neill and Anne Hill of Queens College report that the more years child spends on welfare, the lower the child’s IQ.((M. Anne Hill and June O'​Neill"​Family Endowments ​and the Achievement ​of Young Children With Special Reference to the Underclass,"​ //Journal of Human Resources//,​ Fall 1994, pp. 1090-1091.)) A similar study found that welfare also has negative effects on the long-term employment and earnings capacity of young boys.((Mary Corcoran, Roger Gordon, Deborah Loren, ​and Gary Solon, "The Association Between Men's Economic Status and Their Family and Community Origins,"​ //​Journal ​of Human Resources//,​ Fall 1992, pp575-601.))
  
-====1.1. Effects ​of Restoring Marriage to 1960 Levels====+=====2Long-Term ​Effects ​on Children=====
  
-As Chart 1 shows, the proportion of children in single-parent ​families rose substantially from 1960 to 2000In 1960only 11.7 percent of children were in single-parent or other broken” home settingsa percentage that ballooned to 27.6 percent by the year 2000.  +While many single mothers work wonders and raise their children well despite the obstacles they encounterfor many others ​the challenge is too great and their children ​suffer the consequences. Children raised ​in single parent ​family tend to complete fewer years of schooling,​((Donna KGinther, “Family Structure and Children’s Educational Outcomes: Blended Families, Stylized Facts, and Descriptive Regressions,” //​Demography//​Vol. 41, No. 4 (November 2004), pp671–696.)) exhibit behavior problems,((Wendy Manning ​and Kathleen Lamb, “Adolescent Well-Being in Cohabitating,​ Married, and Single-Parent Families,” //​Journal ​of Marriage ​and Family//Vol65 (November 2003), pp876–893.)) commit acts of delinquency,((Chris Knoester ​and Dana LHaynie“Community ContextSocial Integration Into Family, and Youth Violence,” //​Journal ​of Marriage ​and Family// 67no. 3 (2005): 767-780.)) and participate ​in increased sexual activity.((Samuel W. Sturgeon"The Relationship Between ​Family Structure and Adolescent Sexual Activity," Heritage Foundation FamilyFacts.org Special Report No.(November 2008), available at http://www.familyfacts.org/featuredfinding/ff_01.pdf (accessed November 2016).)) 
- +
-{{ :​effects_of_single_parents_on_poverty_rates_chart_1.png?​direct&​600 |}} +
- +
-As Table 1 and Table 2  showif marriages in 2000 were restored to 1960 levelsthe percentage of children residing in married couple families would rise from 72.4 percent to 88.3 percentA total of 11.49 million children would reside in married couple families rather than single-parent homes (See Table 3 and Table 4). Among black childrenthe share residing in married homes would rise from 51 percent to 71 percent; nearly 3 million additional black children would reside in married-couple homes.((In all the tables ​and accompanying text in “The Effects of Marriage on Child Poverty,” the term black” refers to “non-whites.” “Non-whites” is a category that covers blacks and a smaller group of “others.” In 1960the Census Bureau divided the population into “whites” ​and “non-whites”; no separate data on blacks were available. In hypothetically restoring marriage to 1960 levelswe have been forced to mimic this 1960 racial categorization. The use of the categories “whites” and “non-whites” rather than “whites” and “blacks” has no effect on the overall analysis ​of the impact of marriage on child poverty ​and marginal effect on the figures given on racial subgroups.)) ​  +
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-{{ :​effects_of_single_parents_on_poverty_rates_table_1_and_2.png?​direct&​900 |}} +
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-{{ :​effects_of_single_parents_on_poverty_rates_table_3_and_4.png?​direct&​900 |}} +
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-Table 5  shows that restoring marriage to 1960 levels would have a considerable impact on child poverty. Using the money income definition of incomethe child poverty rate is now at 15.7 percent. However, if marriage were restored to 1960 levels, the total child poverty rate would be cut by nearly a third to 11.2 percent. Restoration of marriage to 1960 levels among blacks would have a similar effect; their child poverty rate would fall by nearly a third from the current level of 27.5 percent to 20.5 percent. +
- +
-{{ :​effects_of_single_parents_on_poverty_rates_table_5.png?​direct&​900 |}} +
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-====1.2. Effects of Marriage on Children==== +
- +
-As noted, restoration of marriage to 1960 levels would move 11.49 million children from single-parent homes into [[effects_of_marriage_on_child_poverty|married-couple homes]]. The reduction of poverty within this group of children is striking. As residents in single-parent homes, the current poverty rate of these children is 34.2 percent. This analysis matched single parents with demographically similar spouses to create simulated married-couple homes. Table 6  shows that, when the 11.49 million children are placed in these simulated married-couple homes, their poverty rate falls to 6.7 percent. Thus, marriage cuts poverty full 80 percent ​(from 34.2 percent to 6.7 percent). Among the 11.49 million children moved into married familiesabout 3 million are black childrenThe poverty rate among these children is 45.4 percent before marriage and 9.0 percent after marriage; thus, marriage reduces poverty among the affected black children by 80 percent. +
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-{{ :​effects_of_single_parents_on_poverty_rates_table_6.png?​direct&​900 |}} +
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-====1.3 Effects ​of Marriage on Poverty Using an Expanded Definition of Income==== +
- +
-As the final step in this analysisresearchers calculated the effects of marriage on poverty using an expanded definition of income. The Earned Income Tax Credit and food stamps were counted as part of a family’s financial resources when determining whether the family was poor.((Many researchers view this augmented definition of income as superior to traditional money income because it includes cash (EITC) ​and near cash (fungible food stamp) transfers from the government to familiesSeefor exampleGregory Acs, Norma Coe, Keith Watson, and Robert Lerman“Does Work Pay: An Analysis ​of the Work Incentives Under TANF,” Urban Institute Occasional Paper No. 9, July 1998.)) Naturally, poverty rates both before ​and after the marriage simulation were lower according to this method of measurement.  +
- +
-Using the expanded definition of incomethe current child poverty rate is 12.9 percent. If marriage were restored to 1960 levels, the rate falls to 9.1 percent. A total of 2.7 million children would be removed from poverty. Among black children, the poverty rate falls from 22.6 percent to 16.3 percent, a drop of 28 percent ​(See Table 7 and Table 8)+
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-{{ :effects_of_single_parents_on_poverty_rates_table_7_and_8.png?​direct&​900 |}} +
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-=====2. Prior Research===== +
- +
-These results are consistent with other microsimulation models of marriage ​and poverty. In an influential 1995 article entitled “The Impact of the Changing U.S. Family Structure on Child Poverty and Income Inequality,​” Dr. Robert Lerman of the Urban Institute estimated that restoring marriage to 1971 levels would have reduced child poverty ​in 1989 by approximately 23 percent.((LermanThe Impact of the Changing U.S. Family Structure ​on Child Poverty ​and Income Inequality,” Table 10, p. S136.)) This analysis((For the full report see [[http://​www.heritage.org/​research/​reports/​2002/​04/​the-effect-of-marriage-on-child-poverty|“The Effects of Marriage on Child Poverty”]])) differs from that done by DrLerman in two respects. First, due to the difference in years of comparison ​(2000 to 1960 rather than 1989 to 1971), this analysis moved more children from single-parent to simulated married homes. Second, Dr. Lerman’s analysis employed a larger adjustment in male wages due to marriage than we did. +
- +
-More recently, Adam Thomas and Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution simulated marriage rates similarly by restoring marriage to 1970 levels.((Adam Thomas and Isabel Sawhill, “For Richer or for Poorer: Marriage as an Antipoverty Strategy,​” //Journal of Policy Analysis and Management//,​ forthcoming, available at [[http://www.brook.edu/dybdocroot/wrb/​wip/​200202.pdf]].)) Using money income to gauge poverty, the Thomas and Sawhill simulation would drop the child poverty rate from 18.3 percent to 14.8 percent, a 19.1 percent change. As noted above, the analysis drops the child poverty rate from 15.7 percent to 11.2 percent, or nearly a 30 percent change. The difference between this analysis and theirs can be explained in part by the fact that Brookings raised marriage to 1970 levels, whereas this analysis raises marriage to the higher 1960 levels; thus, this study moved more children from single-parent to married families. In addition, the Brookings analysis made no adjustment at all for the effects of marriage on male wages, through either a selection effect or earnings inducement. As a consequence,​ Thomas and Sawhill underestimate the impact of marriage on poverty.+