Lewis Diuguid

June 14, 2013

Single-parent households an American problem

Conservatives love to point fingers at African-Americans over the number of black children being raised by single moms. And it is a problem, but the Urban Institute in a new report finds that single-parent households now are a concern for whites and Hispanics, too.

Conservatives love to point fingers at African-Americans over the number of black children being raised by single moms.

And it is a problem, which Daniel Patrick Moynihan brought to light in a 1965 report for the U.S. Department of Labor. But the Urban Institute in a new report finds that single-parent households now are a concern for whites and Hispanics, too.

“The Moynihan Report Revisited” showed that in 1960, 20 percent of black children lived with their mothers only. By 2010 it had grown to 53 percent. That’s a 165 percent increase.

For white children in 1960, only 6 percent lived with their mothers only. But in 2010 it jumped to 20 percent. That’s a 233 percent increase, which far surpasses the rate for black female headed families.

Combine that with the fact that whites make up the majority in this country, and it’s easy to see that single-parent households are an American problem. Two-parent families provide children with more resources, particularly if both adults are working outside of the home and they offer greater social and behavioral balance.

Yet, the trend in the U.S. has been a retreat from marriage, the Urban Institute report notes. In 1960, just over half of all black women were married and living with their husbands compared with more than two-thirds of white and Hispanic women. By 2010, only a quarter of black women and two-fifths of Hispanic women and half of white women lived with their spouses.

Again, an American problem.

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