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Oops! Black Children Better Off with Married Parents

Posted on May 22 2010 4:00 pm
Ben-Peter Terpstra is an Australian satirist and polemicist. His works have been posted on numerous sites from The Daily Caller (Washington D.C.) to Quadrant Online (Sydney, Australia). He blogs at Positively Churchillian.
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No serious person believes our “private” lives have no impact whatsoever on society at large. Furthermore, such a person does also not believe that the number of fatherless boys in jail is just a coincidence. To put it more dramatically: the West’s expressive divorce culture has destroyed more lives than the bombing of Hiroshima.

But more evidence is mounting. From The Washington Times:

A new study released Wednesday by the Pew Charitable Trusts shows that the damage divorce does to poorer children’s future economic mobility is even greater than the impact suffered from having only one parent.

“Divorce is particularly harmful for children’s [economic] mobility,” Thomas DeLeire and Leonard M. Lopoo said in their report, “Family Structure and the Economic Mobility of Children.”

The two academics examined more than 30 years of data on some 2,200 families. In addition to tracking the incomes of parents and their now-adult children, the researchers looked at parental marital histories.

The data showed that parental divorce was a serious impediment to children’s upward mobility.

Among children of low-income parents, only 26 percent of those whose parents divorced managed to climb into the middle or top income levels when they reached adulthood.

In comparison, half of the children raised by their married parents climbed out of poverty. Even children of poor unwed mothers did better than children of divorce – 42 percent of low-income children born to single moms eventually exceeded their mothers’ incomes.

Findings like these suggest that “divorce is a meaningful barrier to a child’s economic mobility,” said John E. Morton, managing director of the Pew Economic Policy Group.


Among black low-income families, if the parents divorced, an astonishing 85 percent of their children did not escape that “bottom third of the ladder,” the Pew study said. However, if black children’s parents stayed married, significantly fewer of the children – 62 percent – stayed poor.

As a matter of consistency, one would expect the media’s concerned upper-middle class watchdogs, to highlight these and other studies. After all, don’t they care about socially disadvantaged black children more than the whole world times ten?

Think again. Studies like these and others confront the campaigning journalist’s “Love family ideology.” It doesn’t take a village, but two committed biological parents to raise healthy children. “Love Family ideology,” however, will ask you to reject marriage as the “defining institution of family life,” explains Barbara Dafoe Whitehead in her book The Divorce Culture. But “Love Family ideology” (like the rainbow family philosophy) consistently fails to promote parent-child bonds and well-being too.

Of course, if one accepts that our supposedly private lives have no impact on the public wallet (or public safety) one is likely to ignore society’s expressive divorce-bomb victims.


Ben-Peter Terpstra is an Australian satirist and cartoon lover. His works have been posted on numerous sites from American Thinker (California) to Quadrant Online (Sydney, Australia). For more information see, Pizza Trays and Beer Bottles.

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