By MARRI Interns
February 27, 2012
February 22, 2012
The raw data is not the cause of these accusations. The burgeoning number of children born outside of marriage is beyond dispute and is, as Deparle and Tavernise rightly note, a trend that is observable through the past five decades. Only slightly less controversial is the assertion that this trend has been decisively harmful to the development of the children involved. The article is thus correct in noting, “Researchers have consistently found that children born outside marriage face elevated risks of falling into poverty, failing in school or suffering emotional and behavioral problems.” The article also includes the admission by Susan Brown, a sociologist from
The article is lacking not because of flaws in the data but because Deparle and Tavernise’s interpretation of that data is erroneous and relatively dismissive. It is already established that these trends are pernicious toward children and society as a whole. Why then this facile intimation that such trends are somehow of nominal significance, that the increase of children born to unwed parents does not bode poorly for the future, and that marriage is somehow, in the words of University of Pennsylvania sociologist Frank Furstenberg, “a luxury good,” in the face of volumes of sociological evidence to the contrary?
The confusion inherent in the article is made manifest in the implicit insinuation that such trends are simply to be accepted passively as an irremediable feature of American demography, and that the circumstances which occasioned their advent were regrettably unavoidable. Deparle and Tavernise’s interpretation of the data is a reductionist one that explains the decline in marriage as attributable almost entirely to economics and education. While DeParle and Tavernise rightly assert that “men are worth less than they used to be,” they provide no explanation for that development. But the research presented in MARRI’s 162 Reasons to Marry shows definitively that men are worth less because they fail to marry, and that marriage correlates with significant increases in working hours, productivity, and wages for men. Furthermore, married, intact families save more, have higher average net worth, enjoy more rapid net worth growth, and are less likely to be impoverished than any other family structures. None of these benefits apply to cohabiting couples, the very structure identified by Deparle and Tavernise as the source of most of the new nonmarital births. The research supporting these conclusions is copious and consistently strengthened by newer studies. By contrast, the analysis provided in the
Nor are the beneficial aspects of involvement by both parents in a stable marriage for the children merely financial. MARRI’s 2011 Index of Belonging and Rejection demonstrates that children from intact, stable families have higher high school graduation rates and standardized tests scores and a lower incidence of teenage out-of-wedlock births, among other indicators. The data resound to indicate that mothers—even financially stable mothers—cannot so quickly dispense with the fathers of their children, nor can women be removed from a society without grave repercussions, as previous entries in this blog have noted. An indelible interconnectedness binds private behavior and public well-being together, and this ever-increasing volume of studies demonstrates that the sexes are not as independent and isolated as might be thought. It would seem that fathers and mothers are not mutually expendable baggage to be jettisoned capriciously for the sake of convenience, but are rather integral components of successful families and society as a whole.
February 9, 2012
Good marriages are the bedrock of strong societies. All other relationships in society stem from the father-mother relationship, and these other relationships thrive most if that father-mother relationship is an intimate, closed husband-wife relationship. Our nation depends on good marriages to yield strong revenues, good health, low crime, high education, and high human capital
4. Those from an intact family are more likely to be happily married.
6. Those from intact families are less likely to divorce.
27. Married men and women report the most sexual pleasure and fulfillment.
33. Adults who grew up in an intact married family are more likely than adults from non-intact family structures to attend religious services at least monthly.
37. Children of married parents are more engaged in school than children from all other family structures.
48. Adolescents from intact married families are less like to be suspended, expelled, or delinquent, or to experience school problems than children from other family structures.
69. The married family is less likely to be poor than any other family structure.
79. Married men are less likely to commit crimes.
93. Married women are less likely to be abused by their husband than cohabiting women are to be abused by their partner.
99. Children in intact married families suffer less child abuse than children from any other family structure.
104. Married people are more likely to report better health, a difference that holds for the poor and for minorities.
119. Married men and women have higher survival rates after being diagnosed with cancer.
126. Married people have lower mortality rates, including lower risk of death from accidents, disease, and self-inflicted injuries.
132. Married women have significantly fewer abortions than unmarried women.
149. Married people are least likely to commit suicide.
February 7, 2012
From our latest Mapping America publication (111: “Ever Run Away” by Current Religious Attendance and Structure of Family of Origin):
February 1, 2012
The joy caused by the advent of the Super Bowl this Sunday quickly transforms into melancholy for many men who acknowledge with lamentation that the Super Bowl marks the termination of football season. How ought those men to spend those superfluous hours on Sunday that were previously occupied with football? A trove of social science research suggests quite strongly that it might be best for them, for their marriage, and for their children to head to church.
Conservative Protestant married men with children are consistently more active and expressive with their children than unaffiliated men and are often more engaged with their children than mainline Protestant fathers. Furthermore, conservative Protestant family men are more likely than unaffiliated men to do positive emotion work in their marriages and are more consistently engaged emotionally in their marriages than mainline men. So the charges that conservative Protestantism fosters authoritarian and other stereotypical displays of masculinity among its family are overdrawn. [emphasis added]
January 24, 2012
By Anna Dorminey, Staff
We at MARRI have broken down the data from the Second Annual Index of Family Belonging and Rejection by state, and are pleased to present you with the Index of Family Belonging and Rejection: State by State (2011).
From State by State:
This version of the Index is a breakdown, state by state, of the data published in that 2011 Index. Each page compares individual state performance on various child outcomes (high school graduation rate, eighth grade NAEP reading scores, child poverty, and births to unmarried teenagers). This permits the comparison of each state to the weakest and strongest states in each outcome category. Because social policy is executed at the state level, a breakdown of this data state by state is natural and fitting.
We hope that this version of the Index will be informative to both state legislators and citizens.
January 17, 2012
By Anna Dorminey, Staff
January 12, 2012
By Anna Dorminey, Staff
Our latest Mapping America (110: Children’s Peabody Individual Achievement Test math percentile norms) shows that children who attend church weekly or more often and who are raised in intact families rank in the highest PIAT math percentiles.
The strongest effects appear to proceed from family structure: children raised in intact married families average in the 54th percentile, while children raised in cohabiting stepfamilies or always-single parent families score the worst, averaging in the 27th percentile.
Keep tabs on marri.frc.org for more Mapping America productions!
January 6, 2012
By Anna Dorminey, Staff