- Israel hits symbols of Hamas rule; scores killed
- Mississippi abortion law can’t be enforced
- Teacher who survived Sandy Hook has book deal
- Jury awards Jesse Ventura $1.8M in case vs. ‘American Sniper’ author Chris Kyle
- Government OKs Arab-owned company to operate U.S. cargo port
- Bob McDonnell’s defense: Lonely wife developed ‘crush’ on CEO
- Chinese hackers stole ‘huge quantities’ of sensitive data on Israel’s Iron Dome
- House Republicans unveil bill to speed deportations of border children
- Californians protest middle school for hiring white man to teach cultural studies
- Killer’s sentencing overturned because mother couldn’t find seat in courtroom
Divorce hinders poorer children
Question of the Day
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 ...
- Mississippi abortion law can't be enforced
- Federal appeals court rules against Virginia's gay marriage ban
- Events honoring 20th National Parents' Day reaffirm family
- '50 Shades' movie trailer outrages anti-porn groups
- Tougher clinic rules lead to drop in Texas abortions
Latest Blog Entries
- Gay therapy ban author seeks Calif. House seat
- Transgender 'bathroom law' gets 5,000 more signatures
- 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
TWT Video Picks
- Boehner rules out impeachment: 'Scam started by Democrats'
- Obama thanks Muslims for 'building the very fabric of our nation'
- Obama's brother wears Hamas scarf bearing anti-Israel slogans in photo
- Obama: 'Not a new Cold War,' but new Russia sanctions announced
- Smugglers, rainstorm combine to poke holes in border fence
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- PHILLIPS: Once-in-a-century stupidity
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
- Illegal immigrants demand representation in White House meetings
- PRUDEN: When the hangman botches the job
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world