Sara McLanahan Summer Children of single-parent families suffer measurable harm.
Sara McLanahan Summer Children of single-parent families suffer measurable harm. But the problems of the family are far more complex than the popular debate often suggests. PinIt Instapaper Pocket Email Print Inwhen Dan Quayle condemned the television character Murphy Brown for giving birth out of wedlock, he reopened an old debate that quickly became highly polarized.
Some people claimed that growing up in a fatherless home was the major cause of child poverty, delinquency, and school failure, while others denied that single motherhood had any harmful effects. And some objected even to discussing the topic for fear of stigmatizing single mothers and their children.
Not talking about single motherhood is scarcely an option. More than half of the children born in will spend some or all of their childhood with only one parent, typically their mother. If current patterns hold, they will likely experience higher rates of poverty, school failure, and other problems as they grow up.
The long-range consequences could have enormous implications. But what exactly are the consequences -- how large and concentrated among what groups? Do they depend on whether a single mother is widowed, divorced, or never married?
Does public support for single mothers inadvertently increase the number of women who get divorced or choose to have a baby on their own? Many people hold strong opinions about these issues. For example, conservatives such as former Education Secretary William Bennett and Charles Murray, the author of Losing Ground, believe that single motherhood is so harmful and public support is so significant an inducement for unwed women to have babies that it is time to get tough with the mothers.
Murray has even proposed denying unwed mothers child support payments from nonresident fathers.
In Murray's eyes, the mothers are fully responsible for any children they bear in an age when contraceptives and abortion are freely available. Of the father Murray says: As far as I can tell, he has approximately the same causal responsibility as a slice of chocolate cake has in determining whether a woman gains weight.
Meanwhile, some liberal critics see single mother as a codeword for "black, welfare mother. And then there are the feminists who regard Quayle's attack on Murphy Brown as a symbolic attack on the moral right of women to pursue careers and raise children on their own.
So great are the passions aroused by the debate over the morality of single motherhood that a clear-eyed view of the consequences of single motherhood has been difficult.
But to make any progress, we had best know what those are. Does Single Motherhood Harm Children?Dependent Children: 1 in 4 in lone-parent families, National Statistics Online, National Statistics, United Kingdom, July 7, "Family Life: Stresses of Single Parenting".
American Academy of Pediatricians. Compared with children in married-couple families, children raised in single-parent households are more likely to drop out of school, to have or cause a teen pregnancy and to experience a divorce in adulthood.
Single Mother Statistics Updated July 5, by Dawn Lee. According to U.S.
Census Bureau, 4 out of about 12 million single parent families with children under the age of 18, more than 80% were headed by single mothers. 5. Snapshot of Single Mother Families () 11,, Thus, the dropout rate would be only 33 percent lower if all families had two parents and the children currently living with a single parent had the same dropout rates as children living with two parents -- a highly improbable assumption.
NOV. 17, — The majority of America’s million children under age 18 live in families with two parents (69 percent), according to new statistics released today from the U.S. Census Bureau. This is compared to other types of living arrangements, such as living with grandparents or having a single parent.
The second most common family arrangement is children living with a single. From a sample of 2, children, the longer kids were in single-parent households, the shorter their educations. Since the early s, however, a new model has become the standard for statistics measuring academic performance in children of varied household initiativeblog.comd: Jun 17,