Survey Pinpoints Root of Broken Families, Childhood Poverty

traditional family
(United States Library of Congress)

Poverty. Educational Attainment. Teenage out-of-wedlock births.

Those are some of the issues the Family Research Council’s Marriage & Religion Research Institute (MARRI) released its second annual Index of Family Belonging and Rejection this week.

MARRI director Dr. Pat Fagan said this year's index shows that the family is hugely important in determining a child's future success or failure. States with higher rates of strong families have higher rates of high school graduation as well as higher average scores on the National Assessment of Educational Progress.

Fagan said family structure is actually more closely linked to educational outcomes than government spending. That’s why it’s so troubling that only 45.8 percent of American children reach the age of 17 with both their biological parents married since before or around the time of their birth.

"States with higher scores on the Index have lower child poverty rates, and states that score low have high child poverty rates,” Fagan said. “A father is motivated to work harder to support a child when he is the biological parent of the child and lives with the child and mother. Conversely, many non-residential parents do not pay child support, and those that do, do not pay much.”

Geographically speaking, the Index of Family Belonging is highest in the Northeast (49.6 percent) and lowest in the South (41.8 percent). Minnesota (57 percent) and Utah (56.5 percent) have the highest Index of Family Belonging values of all the states; Mississippi (34 percent) has the lowest. Family belonging is, as in 2008, strongest among Asians (65.8 percent) and weakest among African-Americans (16.7 percent).

Research at the individual family level has shown that adolescents who live in single-parent families or stepfamilies are more likely to have out-of-wedlock births, Fagan said. This continues the endless cycle of broken families and childhood poverty.

"Government can do two things to help alter this trend. The first is to help in creating, compiling and publicizing sound research evidence on the links between family living arrangements and youth development, as well as those between family characteristics and community functioning and well-being,” Fagan said. “The second is in ensuring that governmental policies intended to help those in need do not have unintended consequences that create moral hazard and encourage the formation of more high-risk families.”

To contact us or to submit an article, click here.

Get Charisma's best content delivered right to your inbox! Never miss a big news story again. Click here to subscribe to the Charisma News newsletter.

Five ways to deepen your relationship with God, increase your faith and save money!

  • Deepen Your Relationship with God with a FREE eCourse: Click Here to view all of our free e-Courses. Favorite topics include Fear, Forgiveness, Holy Spirit, Supernatural, and How to Hear God.
  • Super Discounts and Close-Out Specials: Click Here to view all our bundles and close-out specials and save up to 86%! Prayer, Holy Spirit, Anointing, the Supernatural and more.
  • God Wants to Anoint Women Now: Rise up and enter the anointing of Deborah, Anna, Esther, Ruth and Hannah. You were called to go higher. Click Here to learn more.
  • Change Your Atmosphere and Circumstances Through Prayer! John Eckhardt's prayer bundle gives you six powerful books to help you pray and change any situation. Click Here.
  • HUGE Bible Sale!: Click Here to save up to 50% off a great selection of Bibles. Plus, get a free gift with each order!

Subscription Special: Subscribe to Charisma for Only $24.97 and get a free gift. With your subscription, you'll receive Born For Significance by best-selling author Bill Johnson. View Offer

Attention Pastors and Leaders: Leadership training and development are crucial for success. Enroll in a FREE 1-hour leadership mini-course by Dr. Mark Rutland. View Details

Charisma News - Informing believers with news from a Spirit-filled perspective