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Thursday, February 10, 2011
What the Collapse of Marriage Means for Children
By Heritage Foundation @ 3:21 PM :: 4981 Views :: Energy, Environment, National News, Ethics
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Coming Soon
February 7 - 14,
National Marriage Week
This week-long
is a collaboration of organizations, communities, and religious institutions to strengthen and promote the benefits of marriage to every member of society.

February 10 - 11, 7 - 9 pm,
Seek the Welfare of the City, University of Mobile
Heritage is headed to the University of Mobile to better equip students to respond effectively to the needs in their community and beyond. 
Bring this event to your campus



What the Collapse of Marriage Means for Children

 The decline of marriage in recent years not only signals trouble for the men and women missing out on the rewards of the institution, but it can also threaten the future economic prospects of children born outside the protection of marriage. The 41 percent of children born in the U.S. to never-married mothers are at  higher risk of experiencing poverty at some point in their lifetimes than their peers born to married parents. 


Households headed by single females have two-fifths the median income of married families. Even when compared with married families with only one income, the single mother’s average salary is still lower. This relative lack of income means a child born to an unwed mother is six times more likely to experience poverty than a child born to married parents. In fact, over half of children raised by a single mother currently live in poverty. Most startling, while poverty rates are higher among unmarried women regardless of race, almost half of African-Americans live in a single-parent household.

Children born outside of marriage often struggle with a host of hindrances to social mobility including emotional and behavioral problems, poor academic performance, and an increased risk of criminal activity.

Thankfully, there are ways that individuals, community leaders, and policymakers can help alleviate childhood poverty. By encouraging marriage in low-income communities, teaching adolescents and young adults the economic and social benefits of marriage, and reducing policy disincentives to marriage, more children can avoid the pain of poverty.  
Dallas' Interfaith Housing Coalition: Helping Families Out of Poverty 

For struggling families in Dallas, Texas the Interfaith Housing Coalition is a strict but welcome solution to economic hardships. As Cynthia Rushing, a former resident, explained: "Sometimes I felt like my counselors and case managers were treating me like a child as if they were my parents. But I realized … I really didn't have a parent to call and ask how to do the things IHC has taught me. God provided surrogate parents for me here at Interfaith and they never judged, only encouraged."
Like Cynthia, a majority of the families that Interfaith Housing Coalition assists are single mothers with few resources to keep themselves and their children out of poverty and off the streets. Since the economic difficulties facing single parents can place both mother and child at risk of experiencing poverty, groups like Interfaith Housing Coalition are important to helping unwed parents and their children achieve sustainable self-dependence.

Families participating in Interfaith’s programs are housed in the organization’s 49 apartments, required to find and keep employment, and learn and apply basic personal financial concepts like living on a budget, saving money, and paying off debt. Last year, over half of Interfaith’s participants completed the rigorous job training and financial literacy program and 89 percent of the residents secured employment within an average of six weeks. In addition to an impressive record helping resident families learn how to escape poverty, last year over 90 percent of former program participants maintained self-sufficiency upon leaving the program.

Through the grassroots efforts of organizations like Dallas’ Interfaith Housing Coalition and the commitment of communities and policymakers to promote the social and economic benefits of marriage in low-income communities, more families could have a chance to be saved the emotional and financial stresses of poverty. 

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