There has been a lot of talk about poverty lately. Between Republicans calling President Obama the “Welfare President” and asserting he stripped the work requirement from welfare, to Democrats arguing Mitt Romney doesn’t care about the poor, poverty is a hot topic these days.

Recently, a report by the Heritage Foundation suggests a solution to tackle America’s growing poverty problem: marriage.

According to the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank, one third of single parent families with children fall below the poverty line. Conversely, only six percent of married families with children are living in poverty, a difference of over 80 percent.

While the majority of children in the U.S. are born to married couples, the percentage of babies born to single parents has risen sharply throughout the years. These days, 42 percent of kids are born to unmarried parents, and for African Americans that number is nearly 70 percent (almost 53 percent for Latinos). According to researchers with the Heritage Foundation, this is a recipe for poverty.

They write:

Most poor children live in single-parent families. Seventy-one percent of poor families with children are headed by single parents, mostly single mothers. Compared to children raised in an intact family, children raised in single-parent homes are more likely to have emotional and behavioral problems; be physically abused; smoke, drink, and use drugs; be aggressive; engage in violent, delinquent, and criminal behavior; have poor school performance; and drop out of high school. 

Rising non-marital births leads to increased poverty. In 2010, 41 percent of children were born outside marriage, up from roughly 5 percent in 1960. Children born to unmarried women are very likely to live in persistent poverty.

Despite the rise in single parent families (not to be confused with teenage births which make up just 7.7 percent of babies born to unmarried parents), researchers found that unmarried mothers do value marriage, but often find themselves pregnant due to limited resources and improper education about how single parenting often leads to poverty.

According to the Heritage Foundation, married fathers are one of the single biggest deterrents of poverty, but while they are long on assertions that marriage can prevent outcomes of poverty they are short on solutions.

Recent studies have shown that access to free birth control lowers abortion rates and prevents many out of wedlock births, but Conservatives have traditionally been against such measures.

The Heritage Foundation criticizes the government for its “faulty policies” that merely treat the side-effects of poverty, but aside from saying that marriage can prevent poverty they offer few solutions on how to encourage more people to choose marriage while eschewing out of wedlock births.

While it’s clear that children are better off when raised in a home with two loving parents, is marriage the sole solution to our growing poverty problem?

What do you think?

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  • paul


    excuse me for the school boy “science” I’m about to drop.

    //The cure for poverty is NOT marriage, it’s –


    just as FOOD is the cure for starvation, not two people starving together. LOL

    Unless someone can explain how marriage converts poverty into money. If you marry a person who has enough money to take you out of poverty then it’s the money taking you out poverty not the marriage.

    science drop dun.//


    High out of wedlock birthrates are a symptom of social inequality.

    If you’re from a well to do bougie family in the burbs, you gotta a lotta incentives to delay having babies, your opportunity vistas are much wider.

    If you’re a poor girl in the Hood where job prospects are non-existent and education opportunities are prohibitively costly – having a baby really doesn’t really worsen your condition much. In fact you may see having child as giving meaning and purpose to what you perceive as an otherwise meaningless life.

    Being a mother gives you responsibility, identity, family and


    What’s so hard to understand about that?

    Why should poor people not have children?

    Shut up.

    Furthermore most underprivileged people, among whom I count myself – DO respect and want marriage. However marriage is seen as part of part the reward package this society offers for accomplishment in JOB and EDUCATION.

    If you have no job and no education – YOU DON’T FEEL LIKE MARRIAGE IS FOR YOU – because you don’t have the base of financial security and SYSTEM WISENESS that marriage is built on.

    Now that should give you context for the old cliche that goes – “marriage is for white people.”

    Shut up again.

    Judging by low standard of apprehension displayed whenever this topic comes up, including in this discussion, I’d say there’s a lotta people here who are also not fit for marriage.

    I just can’t see how people so ignorant, shallow, self righteous and insensitive can possibly make a marriage work.

    Seems to me that a lot of you need to do MORE work on developing PERSONALITY, system wiseness and on IMPROVING your education

    • Tony

      What was the black illegitimacy rate from 1910 to 1950? Between 5 to 24%. The black community was incredibly stable in spite of racism, jim crow, discrimination and ABJECT (80 to 10 in 2n bedroom apartments and shacks) poverty. Black illegitimacy is a recent phenomenon created by white feminist and white liberal social engineering programs. KNOW YOU HISTORY!!!!

  • Tony

    This claim of condoms by black women is nothing more than a bad excuse for their failings as women. The truth is that no nation nor RACE has been able to use condoms exclusively as an effective means of birth control. IT HAS NEVER BEEN DONE. FACT!!! Secondly, all cultures except american black women hold UNMARRIED women responsible for their pregnancy. Right or wrong. It works!!! Thirdly, the illegitmacy rate for white women with a bachelors degree (ie white feminist) is 4 to 6%. That’s as close to zero as you can get. 80 to 88% of women in western europe who do not want to get pregnant use female contraceptives. That’s almost 100% coverage. Lastly, blacks aren’t having anymore nor less unprotected sex than whites.

  • Ms Rachel

    I would have to concur that having a wonderful job that pays a livable wage with outstanding healthcare is far more important than marriage. Due to these hard economic times, even people with college degrees can’t even find a decent job. Years of discrimination in all forms and the brainwashing of so many minds has deterred success for the most part. Now I am not against marriage and do not shame someone for wanting to get married. I believe in free will and people can get married to whomever they please. However at this point in my life I’d rather obtain a career (100,000 plus…yearly) and start up a non-profit assisting children and battered women.

  • I wouldn’t say its an absolute cure but kids raised in 2 parent homes fare way better than kids in single parent homes. There is NOT one shred of evidence to dispute that FACT I think its sad that way too many black women feel that single parent homes can do it as well as married couples. I feel for the kids :(

  • Wong Chia Chi

    Marriage is only a poverty cure if you can put it on a resume and get a high paying job with it.