A new study by the Heritage Foundation reveals that U.S. children in married-parent families are more than 80 percent less likely to live in poverty than kids in single-parent homes. The Heritage study finds that nearly three out of four poor families in America are headed by a single parent — usually a mother — but when a child's father is married to his mother, and is a presence in the home, the poverty level tends to plummet.
“Policymakers on the state and national levels recognize that education reduces poverty,” said the study's author, Robert Rector, who serves as senior research fellow in domestic policy at Heritage. “But they're largely unaware that marriage is an equally strong anti-poverty weapon.”
The study notes that in Florida, as just one example, white families headed by single parents are five times more likely to live in poverty than those headed by married couples. And in Illinois, the poverty rate for a single mother with only a high school education stands at nearly 40 percent, compared with just eight percent for a similarly educated married couple.
Rector writes that “being married has the same effect in reducing poverty that adding five to six years to a parent's level of education has.”
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