This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 13th (it will be out in January 2020), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Monday, January 4, 2016

More Parents is Better Than Fewer Parents For Most Children

The ancient African proverb says that it takes a village to raise children. But that village is typically a rural place populated by the extended kin of the children in question. In the U.S. today there are few such villages and an increasing fraction of children appear to be growing up in something considerably less than a village. A new Pew Research report puts together data from the ACS and the Current Population to paint a pretty clear picture of the different circumstances in which children find themselves, depending especially on the marital status of the parents. Here's the picture:

And here's the commentary:
The dramatic changes that have taken place in family living arrangements have no doubt contributed to the growing share of children living at the economic margins...The economic outcomes for these different types of families vary dramatically. In 2014, 31% of children living in single-parent households were living below the poverty line, as were 21% of children living with two cohabiting parents. By contrast, only one-in-ten children living with two married parents were in this circumstance. In fact, more than half (57%) of those living with married parents were in households with incomes at least 200% above the poverty line, compared with just 21% of those living in single-parent households.
I have touched on this topic before, but every time I see new data, it hits me over the head again that we are creating problems for ourselves unnecessarily, by increasingly deciding to have children without the benefit to the children of having both parents around.

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