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Executive Summary:

The Second Annual Index of Family Belonging & Rejection

Patrick Fagan and Nicholas Zill

Index Highlights:

  • 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).
  • 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 Be-longing 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 Blacks (16.7 percent).
  • While the effects of government spending on high school graduation rates are curvilinear and offer diminishing returns, family belonging is positively and significantly associated with high school graduation rates.
  • Family belonging and child poverty are significantly, inversely related: States with high Index values have relatively low child poverty rates, and vice versa.
  • There is also a significant, inverse relationship between family belonging and the incidence of births to unmarried teenagers.