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effects_of_family_structure_on_poverty [2015/10/15 06:29]
cordell [3. Children]
effects_of_family_structure_on_poverty [2016/11/03 13:46]
marri
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 ==========Effects of Family Structure on Poverty========== ==========Effects of Family Structure on Poverty==========
  
-//Original Research//: [[http://​marri.us/​policy-2013|U.S. Social ​Policy Dependence ​on the Family]]+More than 15.8 million American children live below the official poverty line.((U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2015 Annual ​Social ​and Economic Supplement.\\ The U.S. Census Bureau creates a set of poverty thresholds annually based on family composition and size, which must be worked with, despite its severe and justified critics. If a family’s pre-tax income (without capital gains or welfare benefits) falls below this threshold, then the family is in poverty.)) Poverty is principally a problem of non-intact families. In 2015, five times as many single, female-headed families were in poverty compared to 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”.)) Marriage is the most effective safeguard against child poverty.  ​
  
-To assess the role of family structure on policy outcomes, DrHenry Potrykus and Dr. Patrick Fagan of the Marriage and Religion Research Institute developed empirical models determining the influence of explanatory variables on various outcomes across the geographic-demographic areas of the U.S. These geographic-demographic areas are the Super Public Use Microdata Areas constructed by the U.S. Census. Potrykus and Fagan conclude that family structure //always// has a beneficial influence on policy outcomes. Family structure is a key factor ​in poverty levels. ​+\\ 
 +{{ :​families_in_povert_2015.png?​direct&​500 |Families ​in Poverty}}
  
-=====1. ​Poverty in the Total Population=====+=====1. ​Married Families=====
  
-The fraction ​of high school ​graduates ​has the largest attenuating ​influence on the fraction ​of the total population ​living ​below the poverty ​lineThis influence is precisely determinable((Precision has no formal meaningIt indicates how clearly determinable (distinguishable ​from zeroan influence on an outcome isPrecision is comparable to standard deviationLow no precision indicates a high standard of deviation ​in which data points spread over a large range of valuesignifying that the influence ​of one variable over another is relatively uncertainHigh precision indicates a low standard of deviation ​in which data points hover around the meansignifying that the influence ​of one variable over another is relatively certainFor further elaboration see “Marriage ​and Economic Well-Being: The Economy ​of the Family ​Rises or Falls with Marriage”)) under controls for demographicseducation, and earnings.+The decline in rates of marriage is significantly associated with an increase in child poverty((Adam Thomas and Isabel Sawhill, "For Love and Money? The Impact of Family Structure on Family Income,"​ //Marriage and Child Wellbeing// 15, no. 2 (2005).)) because marriage decreases a child’s probability of living in poverty by 82 percent.((Calculated from data in U.S. Bureau of the Census, American Community Survey, 2007–2009,​ at [[http://​factfinder2.census.gov/​faces/​tableservices/​jsf/​pages/​productview.xhtml?​pid=ACS_09_3YR_S1702&​prodType=table]],​ as cited by Robert Rector, “Marriage:​ America'​s Greatest Weapon Against Child Poverty,” Heritage Foundation Special Report #117 on Poverty and Equality, September 5, 2012.)) Along with high school ​graduation, family intactness ​has the greatest ​influence on the proportion ​of women and children ​living ​in poverty.((Henry Potrykus and Patrick Fagan, "U.S. Social Policy Dependence on the Family Derived ​from the Index of Belonging,"​ Marriage and Religion Research Institute (February 2013), available at [[http://​marri.us/​policy-2013]].)) Not surprisingly,​ then, children raised ​in married families are less likely to rely on government assistance. According to 2012 Census ​data, 50.0 percent ​of families with single mothers and 29.5 percent with single fathers participated ​in means-tested programs in an average monthcompared with 14.7 percent ​of married-couple families.((Shelley K. Irving ​and Tracy A. Loveless, "​Dynamics of Economic Well-Being: ​Participation in Government Programs, 2009-2012: Who Gets Assistance?"​ //Household Economic Studies// (2015): 9-10. Available at [[http://​www.census.gov/​content/​dam/​Census/​library/​publications/​2015/​demo/​p70-141.pdf]].)) Living with two married parents produces innumerable positive outcomes in children that increase their ability to reach their potential and move up the income ladder.((Paul R Amato, "The Impact ​of Family ​Formation Change on the CognitiveSocial, and Emotional Well-being of the Next Generation,"​ //The Future of Children// (2005): 75-96.))
  
-The fraction of intact families in the geographic area has the next-largest attenuating influence; it, too, is precisely determinable even after controls for demographics,​ education, and earnings are applied.+=====2Divorced Families=====
  
-The fraction ​of college graduates has a small attenuating influence on the fraction ​of the total population below the poverty ​line when controlling only for demographics ​and educationbut the influence becomes largeenhancing, and precisely determinable when controls for earnings are added. Presumablyonce the human and social capital effects of higher education ​are absorbed ​and accounted for by earned income itselfcollege degrees actually increase ​the potential for putting oneself in a poor area.+Divorcing or separating mothers are 2.83 times more likely to be in poverty than those who remain married.((Teresa A. Mauldin and Yoko Mimura, “Marrying,​ Unmarrying, and Poverty Dynamics among Mothers with Children Living at Home,” //​Journal ​of Family and Economic Issues// 28, no. 4 (December 2007): 576.)) Roughly 28 percent ​of mothers with children experience ​poverty ​within a year after their divorce.((Diana B. Elliott, ​and Tavia Simmons"​Marital Events of Americans: 2009," WashingtonDC: US Department of Commerce, Economics ​and Statistics AdministrationUS Census Bureau, 2011.Available at [[http://​www.census.gov/​prod/​2011pubs/​acs-13.pdf]].)) Women whose family income was below the national median ​and mothers who were not in the workforce before the divorce ​are very likely to experience poverty following their divorce.((House Committee on Ways and Means//Green Book: Background Material and Data on Programs Within ​the Jurisdiction of the Committee on Ways and Means//, Bill Archer. (105th Cong., 2d sess., 1998, Committee Print 105, 7).))
  
-The black fraction ​of the population has a small precisely determinable enhancing influence on overall poverty levels when controlling for demographicseducation, and earningsThe fraction ​of the population that is Hispanic has no determinable influence on an area's poverty.+\\ 
 +Economically,​ women suffer more from divorce than men.((Diana B. Elliott, and Tavia Simmons, "​Marital Events ​of Americans: 2009," WashingtonDC: US Department of Commerce, Economics ​and Statistics Administration,​ US Census Bureau, 2011.Available at [[http://​www.census.gov/​prod/​2011pubs/​acs-13.pdf]]. )) Though child support helps a woman avoid poverty after divorce, it does not help as much as most think. Over 35 percent ​of custodial mothers receiving child support were impoverished 16-18 months following ​the divorce while only 10.5 percent of all non-custodial fathers (those paying child support and those not) were impoverished.((Judi Bartfeld, “Child Support and Postdivorce Economic Well-Being of Mothers, Fathers, and Children,​” //​Demography//​ 37, no. 2 (2000): 209.))
  
-Income earned in prime age has precisely determinable influence ​on the proportion ​of the total population below the poverty ​line, as expected.+\\ 
 +Divorce can also increase ​household’s dependence ​on government benefits. Within 12 months of divorce, almost 30 percent of mothers with minor children receive public assistance in the form of Supplemental Security Income (SSI), cash public assistance income, or Food Stamp benefits.((Diana B. Elliott, and Tavia Simmons, "​Marital Events of Americans: 2009," Washington, DC: US Department of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration,​ US Census Bureau, 2011.Available at [[http://​www.census.gov/​prod/​2011pubs/​acs-13.pdf]].)) Divorced mothers who receive welfare do so for three to four years, on average, during which time they begin to work their way out of poverty.((Julia Heath, “Determinants of Spells of Poverty Following Divorce,” //Review of Social Economy// 49, (1992): 305-315.)) However, it seems that welfare benefits may decrease ​the incentives for remarriage,​((C. Dewilde and W. Uunk, “Remarriage as a Way to Overcome ​the Financial Consequences of Divorce– A Test of the Economic Need Hypothesis for European Women,” //European Sociological Review// 24, no. 3 (2008): 400.)) a path out of poverty ​for men and women alike.((Caroline Dewilde and Wilfred Uunk“Remarriage ​as a Way to Overcome the Financial Consequences of Divorce– A Test of the Economic Need Hypothesis for European Women,” //European Sociological Review// 24, no. 3 (2008): 403.  
 +\\Suzanne M. Bianchi, Lekha Subaiya, and Joan R. Kahn, “The Gender Gap in the Economic Well-Being of Nonresident Fathers and Custodial Mothers,” //​Demography//​ 36, no. 2 (May 1999): 200.))
  
-=====2Women=====+=====3Single-Parent Families=====
  
-The fraction of high school graduates ​in the geographic area has the largest attenuating influence on the fraction of 25to 54-year-old females living ​below the poverty line in that geographic area. The attenuating influence is precisely determinable.+In 2015, over 17 million children were raised ​in mother-only families, 43 percent of whom lived below the poverty line.((U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, Current Population Survey, 2015 Annual Social and Economic Supplement.)) About 30 percent of women whose first child was born out of wedlock are poor, compared to 8 percent of women whose first child was born inside wedlock.((Daniel T. Lichter, Deborah R. Graefe, and J.B. Brown, “Is Marriage A Panacea? Union Formation Among Economically Disadvantaged Unwed Mothers,” //Social Problems// 50, (2003): 60-86.)) According to a simulation study, if single mothers were to marry their child’s father, only 17 percent would be impoverished. One hundred percent of unemployed single mothers who do not marry the fathers of their children live in poverty; according to the same simulation, should these mothers marry their child’s father, only 35 percent would be impoverished.((Robert Rector, Kirk Johnson, Patrick Fagan, and Lauren Noyes, “Increasing Marriage Will Dramatically Reduce Child Poverty,​” ​The Heritage Foundation, CDA03-06, (2003). Available from [[http://​www.heritage.org/​research/​reports/​2003/​05/​increasing-marriage-would-dramatically-reduce-child-poverty]]. Accessed 29 April 2011.))
  
-The fraction ​of intact ​families in the geographic area has the next-largest attenuatingprecisely determinable influence.+\\ 
 +Single-parent families are vulnerable in a number ​of ways. In 2014 over three quarters of homeless ​families ​nationwide were headed by single mothers with children.((Ellen L. Bassuk, Carmela J. DeCandia, Corey Anne Beach, and Fred Berman, "​America'​s Youngest Outcasts: A Report Card on Child Homelessness,"​ American Institute for Research (2014). Available at [[http://​www.air.org/​resource/​americas-youngest-outcasts-report-card-child-homelessness]].)) Many single mothers receive government aid in the form of welfare. Fifty percent of female-headed families received major means-tested welfare in 2012.((Shelley K. Irving and Tracy A. Loveless"​Dynamics of Economic Well-Being: Participation in Government Programs, 2009-2012: Who Gets Assistance?"​ //Household Economic Studies// (2015): 9-10. Available at [[http://​www.census.gov/​content/​dam/​Census/​library/​publications/​2015/​demo/​p70-141.pdf]].)) 
  
-The fraction of college graduates ​in the geographic area follows intact families ​in the strength ​of its attenuating influenceHowever, the influence of the fraction ​of college graduates again becomes enhancing after applying controls for earnings ​to the already-applied controls for demographics ​and education.+\\ 
 +Welfare benefits also correlate with a decrease ​in the marriage rate, thus narrowing another path out of poverty. A $100 increase ​in monthly welfare benefits for single mothers decreases a woman’s likelihood ​of marrying by 2.5- 5 percentage points.((Robert Moffitt and Anne Winkler“Beyond Single Mothers: Cohabitation and Marriage in the AFDC Program,” //​Demography//​ 35, no. 3 (1998): 267.)) According to one study, 80 percent ​of single parents who entered into select welfare programs remained single two to four years after first receiving payments.((Lisa A. Gennetian and Virginia Knox, “Staying Single: The Effects of Welfare Reform Policies on Marriage and Cohabitation,​” //The Next Generation//,​ Working Paper no. 13 (2003): 20.)) In particular, receiving benefits from the AFDC welfare program corresponds with a 5 percent reduction in the marriage rate.((M.P. Bitler, J.B. Gelbach, H.W. Hoynes, ​and M. Zavodny, “The Impact of Welfare Reform on Marriage and Divorce,” //​Demography//​ 41, no. 2 (2004): 222.))
  
-The fraction of blacks in a geographic area has a small, enhancing, slightly less precisely determinable influence on the fraction of impoverished 25- to 54-year-old females. The fraction of the population that is Hispanic has no determinable influence on an area's female poverty.+=====4Cohabiting Families=====
  
-Income earned by the overall prime-aged adult population has an attenuating ​and precisely determinable influence when it is added as an additional controlas expected.+Poverty rates are significantly higher among cohabiting families than among married families. The 2015 Annual Social and Economic Supplement indicates that 47.5 percent of children who live with their cohabiting parents are in poverty.((U.S. Census Bureau, Population Division, Current Population Survey, 2015 Annual Social and Economic Supplement, Table C8, available at [[http://​www.census.gov/​hhes/​families/​data/​cps2015C.html]].)) Cohabiting couples lack the relationship stability((Daniel Lees, “The Psychological Benefits of Marriage,​” //Research Note// (2007): 1-4. Available at [[http://​www.maxim.org.nz/​file/​pdf/​psychological_benefits_of_marriage.pdf]].)) and material pooling((Kristen R. Heimdal and Sharon K. Houseknecht,​ “Cohabiting and Married Couples’ Income Organization:​ Approaches in Sweden and the United States,” //Journal of Marriage ​and Family// 65no. 3 (2003): 534.)) that married couples experience
  
-=====3. Children===== 
- 
-The fraction of adult high school graduates has the largest attenuating influence on the fraction of minors living below the poverty line. The influence is precisely determinable. 
- 
-The fraction of intact families in a geographic area has the next-largest attenuating influence on the fraction of minors below the poverty line. This influence is also precisely determinable. 
- 
-The fraction of college graduates has a precisely determinable small attenuating influence on the fraction of minors below the poverty line when controlling for demographics and education, but the influence becomes enhancing, larger, and still precisely determinable when controls for earnings are added. In other words, the fraction of college graduates in a geographic area enhances the fraction of minors below the poverty line, when human and social capital effects are factored in separately through earnings. 
- 
-The fraction of Hispanics in the population has an undetectable influence on the fraction of minors below the poverty line. The fraction of blacks in the population has a determinable,​ enhancing influence on the fraction of minors below the poverty line. 
- 
-Increasing the ratio of elderly to prime-aged adults enhances the fraction of minors living below the poverty line. 
- 
-Income earned in prime age (ages 25 to 54 years), when added as a control, has a precisely determinable attenuating influence on the fraction of minors below the poverty line, unsurprisingly.