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effects_of_family_structure_on_poverty [2015/10/21 13:23]
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effects_of_family_structure_on_poverty [2016/11/03 13:45]
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 ==========Effects of Family Structure on Poverty========== ==========Effects of Family Structure on Poverty==========
  
-To assess ​the role of family structure ​on policy outcomesDr. Henry Potrykus ​and DrPatrick 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+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 sizewhich must be worked with, despite its severe ​and justified criticsIf 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 familiesIn 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. ​ 
  
-=====1. Poverty in the Total Population===== 
- 
-The fraction of high school graduates has the largest attenuating influence on the fraction of the total population living below the poverty line. This influence is precisely determinable((Precision has no formal meaning. It indicates how clearly determinable (distinguishable from zero) an influence on an outcome is. Precision is comparable to standard deviation. Low no precision indicates a high standard of deviation in which data points spread over a large range of value, signifying that the influence of one variable over another is relatively uncertain. High precision indicates a low standard of deviation in which data points hover around the mean, signifying that the influence of one variable over another is relatively certain. For further elaboration see “Marriage and Economic Well-Being: The Economy of the Family Rises or Falls with Marriage” 
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-This entry draws heavily from [[http://​marri.us/​policy-2013|U.S. Social Policy Dependence on the Family]].)) under controls for demographics,​ education, and earnings. 
  
-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.+{{ :​families_in_povert_2015.png?​direct&​500 |Families in Poverty}}
  
-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 education, but the influence becomes large, enhancing, and precisely determinable when controls for earnings are added. Presumably, once the human and social capital effects of higher education are absorbed and accounted for by earned income itself, college degrees actually increase the potential for putting oneself in a poor area.+=====1Married Families=====
  
-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.+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 month, compared 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 Cognitive, Social, and Emotional Well-being of the Next Generation,"​ //The Future of Children// (2005): 75-96.))
  
-Income earned in prime age has a precisely determinable influence on the proportion of the total population below the poverty line, as expected.+=====2Divorced Families=====
  
-=====2. Women=====+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," 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]].)) ​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 fraction of high school graduates in the geographic area has the largest attenuating influence on the fraction of 25- to 54-year-old females living below the poverty line in that geographic area. The attenuating influence is precisely determinable.+\\
  
-The fraction ​of intact families in the geographic area has the next-largest attenuatingprecisely determinable influence.+Economically,​ women suffer more from divorce than men.((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]]. )) 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.))
  
-The fraction of college graduates in the geographic area follows intact families in the strength of its attenuating influence. However, 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.+\\
  
-The fraction ​of blacks ​in a geographic area has a smallenhancingslightly less precisely determinable influence on the fraction ​of impoverished 25- to 54-year-old femalesThe fraction ​of the population that is Hispanic has no determinable influence on an area's female ​poverty.+Divorce can also increase a 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 incomeor 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.))
  
-Income earned by the overall prime-aged adult population has an attenuating and precisely determinable influence when it is added as an additional control, as expected.+=====3Single-Parent Families=====
  
-=====3Children=====+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 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 lineThis influence is also precisely determinable.+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 has precisely determinable small attenuating influence on the fraction ​of minors below the poverty ​line when controlling ​for demographics ​and educationbut the influence becomes enhancinglarger, and still precisely determinable when controls for earnings are added. In other words, the fraction of college graduates in geographic area enhances ​the fraction of minors below the poverty linewhen human and social capital effects are factored in separately through earnings.+Welfare benefits also correlate with 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//​ 35no. 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 particularreceiving benefits from the AFDC welfare program corresponds with 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 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.+=====4Cohabiting Families=====
  
-Increasing ​the ratio of elderly to prime-aged adults enhances ​the fraction ​of minors living below the poverty line.+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// 65, no. 3 (2003): 534.)) that married couples experience
  
-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.