- GOP hopes taking shutdown off the table with budget deal will pay dividends
- Chinese Death Star: The moon cited as the perfect launch pad for ballistic missiles
- Help wanted: Homeland Security plagued by vacancies at the top
- We are not amused: Queen’s protection officers warned to keep ‘sticky fingers’ off the royal cashews
- Unleash the crossbows: Gov. Scott Walker creates new hunting season
- Bubonic plague kills 20 in Madagascar
- G-20 diplomats fell for hacker attack promising nude photos of former French first lady Carla Bruni
- Minnesota guardsman charged with stealing private soldier data for fake IDs
- Florida appeals court rules universities can’t regulate guns
- Vladimir Putin defends Russian conservative values
Divorce hinders poorer children
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.
Family structure also played a role in black upward mobility, which previous Pew research has shown lags behind that of white families.
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.
Marriage wasn't a panacea for poverty. Some children fell into poverty even though they grew up with married middle-class or wealthy parents, the study found.
But the researchers cautioned that if family structure has the same - or even larger - impact on families as their incomes, welfare "redistribution policies" will only have limited impacts, too.
Children already benefit in many ways when they grow up with married parents, the study noted, and "policies that improve marital stability or that mitigate the negative consequences of divorce" might also assist in their upward mobility, too, it concluded.
About the Author
Cheryl Wetzstein covers family and social issues as a national reporter for The Washington Times. She has been a reporter for three decades, working in New York City and Washington, D.C. Since joining The Washington Times in 1985, she has been a features writer, environmental and consumer affairs reporter, and assistant business editor.
Beginning in 1994, Mrs. Wetzstein worked exclusively ...
- Mich. law makes women buy own insurance for abortions
- Study IDs reasons for late-term abortions
- Panel seeks 'surveillance' system for gay blood donors
- Pregnancies decline overall, up among older women
- Embryonic stem cell research falls out of favor as scientists go ethical
Latest Blog Entries
- Pro-life, stem-cell bill signed into law by Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback
- N. Dakota lawmakers approve tough abortion bill
- Pope Benedict XVI's successor should allow priests to get a new title: Husband, poll finds
- House votes to reject Obama welfare shift
- Report: Two out of three Democrats support gay marriage
By Mangosuthu Buthelezi
Memories of a long brotherhood tempered in common struggle
- Obama's Afghanistan experts stumped on U.S. death toll, war costs during hearing
- Inside China: Ukraine gets nuke umbrella
- NAPOLITANO: A conspiracy so vast
- North Korean dictator stuns world with uncle's execution
- CHELLANEY: China's game of chicken
- Obama takes 'selfie' at Mandela's funeral service
- Comma on!: Twitter erupts over Obama-Castro 'marriage'
- 80 people publicly executed across North Korea for films, Bibles
- Inside the Ring: China targets Global Hawk drone
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Consummate traveler Todd DeFeo explores the unique stories that make destinations worth going to.
Covering the world of soccer, including the World Cup, Major League Soccer, D.C. United and the English Premier League and other interesting sporting events.
Born in 1930 in rural Missouri, Charles Vandegriffe, Sr., brings his time and place to the Communities.
Columns from Voices around the World talking about the events, people, politics and social issues that concern us wherever, and whoever, we are.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow