Friday, February 22, 2008

Good news and bad news on the state of intact families and children

Recently released numbers show that a good majority, 61%, of America's children still live with their biological parents based on 2004 data from the Census Bureau. A graph produced by the Family Research Council from SIPP (Survey of Income and Program Participation) produced by the U.S. Census Agency shows that 58.3% of children live with their biological, married parents. This points out that the notion that parents raising their offspring are becoming an endangered species is definitely not true.

The SIPP data goes on to show that among Asian Americans 80.5% of their children lived with their married, biological parents in 2004, an increase from 76.4% in 2001.

The bad news is among other ethnic groups the number of kids raised by their married, biological parents dropped from 2001 to 2004. Among whites it dropped from 67.1% to 65.9% and among blacks it went from 29% to 28.2%.

Of course, some will say what's the big deal. Family structures are evolving. It doesn't matter who's heading up the family as long as they provide a loving environment. Well, family structure is a huge deal for kids because, the biological, married parents of kids are best equipped to provide that loving environment. Blood relationships and married couple households provide more stability than cohabiting arrangements. The problems for kids with family break-up are a greater likelihood of involvement in crime and substance abuse, poverty, poor education performance and so forth.

For instance, fatherlessness is a huge problem in the black community. Expecting government to solve the problem through more government programs, early childhood programs, child care programs is merely addressing the symptoms. And in fact has the potential to provide the wrong incentives and make matters worse. (If a government program can take over parenting responsibilities then maybe dads or moms are dispensable.)

Family and marital break-up is the fundamental social crisis of the day and it's largely being ignored or misunderstood by policy makers.

1 comment:

Troy said...

Way to spin the numbers. Truth is, the only "good" news in this report is that numbers are dropping more rapidly. Down is down, no matter HOW you try to spin it.