Interesting Quotes from Sociologists
“Sharply rising rates of divorce, unwed mothers, and runaway fathers do not represent ‘alternative life styles’. They are rather patterns of adult behavior with profoundly negative consequences for children.”
–Elaine Kamarck and William Galston, Putting Children First: A Progressive Family Policy for the 1990’s, a publication of the Democratic Leadership Council
“I know of few other bodies of data in which the weight of the evidence is so decisively on one side of the issue: on the whole, for children, two-parent families are preferable . . .If our prevailing views on family structure hinged solely on scholarly evidence, the current debate would never have arisen in the first place.”
— David Popenoe, former Dean of Social Sciences, Rutgers University
“Children who grow up in a household with only one biological parent are worse off, on average, than children who grow up in a household with both of their biological parents, regardless of the parents’ race or educational background (italics added), regardless of whether the parents are married when the child is born, and regardless of whether the resident parent remarries.”
–Princeton sociologist Sara McLanahan and the University of Wisconsin’s Gary Sandefur
“We know what the cause of poverty is in this country and, like it or not, it’s divorce and non-wedlock childbearing. We know that for every three divorces, one family ends up below the poverty line. The average woman with dependent children who ends up in poverty stays poor for eight months. The federal government pays for part of that, but states pay the balance. Divorce, by itself, is a major economic issue.”
–Sociology professor Steve Nock of the University of Virginia in a New York Times story
Relevant statistics and academic study conclusions (citations available):
• The poverty rate for children living with cohabiting parents is five times that of children with married parents. The poverty rate for children living with single mothers is seven times that of children with married parents.
• The average married father annually contributes about thirty thousand dollars to the welfare of his children. The annual contribution of a non-custodial father averages about three thousand dollars yearly.
• In 1998, 12% of black children with married parents lived in poverty, BUT 55% of black children with single moms lived in poverty.
• Only 6% of births to women above the poverty line are out of wedlock. To contrast, 44% of births to white women under the poverty line are out of wedlock.
• Children who grow up with only one of their biological parents are three times more likely to have a child out of wedlock, 2.5 times more likely to become teenage mothers, and 1.4 times more likely to be out of school and unemployed.
• Daughters of single parents are 164% more likely to have a premarital birth and 92% more likely to have a divorce than daughters of married parents.
• According to a 1994 report in American Economic Review, those who leave welfare because of marriage are the least likely to return.
• “Among married-couple households, the bracket with the largest number of households is $75,000 and over. Among ‘other family groups,’ the bracket with the largest number of households is that under $10,000.”
• Children of two-parent lower income black homes perform better in college than children from single-parent affluent black homes.
• Children who grow up with one parent are twice as likely to drop out of high school than kids with both parents at home.
• Children whose parents are divorced are more likely to exhibit conduct problems, psychological maladjustment, and lower academic achievement.
• Children in two-parent families receive the highest grades in school of any family structure.
• Seventy-two percent of America’s adolescent murderers, 70% of long-term prison inmates, and 60% of rapists come from fatherless homes.
• Boys raised outside of an intact nuclear family are more than twice as likely as other boys to end up in prison, even controlling for a range of social and economic factors.
• Married women are much less likely to be victims of violent crime than unmarried or divorced women. Only 14.4 married women per 1000 are victimized versus 60.6 never-married women per 1000 and 53.6 divorced or separated women per 1000.
• A cohabiting boyfriend is thirty-three times more likely to abuse a child than a married father who lives with the mother.
• A biological father who cohabits with the mother, but is not married to her, is twenty times more likely to abuse his own child than fathers who are married to the mothers of the child.
• Cohabiting women are more likely to suffer severe violence from their partners than are married women.
• Children without resident fathers are more vulnerable to predators, both sexual and physical, outside the family.