Just consider the following statistics, care of the Brookings Institute:
- In 1960, 72% of American adults were married. In 2010, it's 51%.
- Of those who do get married, many are doing so later in life.
- In 1950, 7% of American families with children were single-parent families. In 2013, it's 32% of families. That's an increase of 457%.
- 40% of all births today are to single mothers.
- 50%+ of all births to women under 30 years of age are to single mothers, the majority of whom don't have a college degree and are from poorer socioeconomic circumstances. For those who do have a college degree, 10% of births occur outside of marriage. For those with a high school diploma, 60% of births take place outside of wedlock.
It isn't enough just to observe that the structure of the American family has changed drastically in past six decades, with the number of single-parent families growing dramatically. More substantively, with fewer Americans marrying today yet continuing to give birth, regardless of marital status, those children will be reared in circumstances that are less than ideal if those young people are to develop their fullest potential.
Absent a significant internvention in their lives, many are sure to become victimized by poverty and subsist on government entitlements. Others are sure to become victimized by a culture that views what is "less than ideal" for raising young people as the "ideal."
The liberal solution is to raise taxes in order to intervene in the lives of those young people. The so-called "War on Poverty" was fought with that goal in mind. It didn't work. The conservative solution is to have state and local government as well as faith-based and non-profits groups cope with the problem. That helped in the 1990s, but won't in the future as a debt-ridden federal government is less able to direct $$$s to non-profits and as church attendance continues to decline.
Yes, the traditional American family is in decline. The evidence is already available. How's it to be salvaged?
Let the discussion begin...
To read the Brookings Institute report, click on the following link:
"Families Adrift: Is Unwed Childbearing the New Norm?"