Sept. 17, 2012
Single motherhood is hard on women. The Houston Chronicle reports that the number of single mothers who live in poverty is a staggering 41 percent, almost three times the national poverty rate. As MARRI intern Lindsay Smith commented in a recent post, the statistics clamor for action:
[Combined] with the fact that more than half of single mothers over age twenty rely on public assistance...these statistics dont softly whisper for concern. They deafeningly cry for action or should I say results.
Many people believe increased funding for public assistance programs will help lift single mothers out of poverty. The Chronicle article continues,
Low wages, limited public assistance and insufficient child care subsidies make it difficult for many single mothers to improve their lives. They are more likely than other poor people to face hardships such as food scarcity and eviction.
But why are single mothers more likely to suffer these hardships? Not because Uncle Sam isnt forthcoming with the welfare check. Lindsay Smith observes that the welfare state does no more than create a treadmill on which the hardworking single mother can never advance out of poverty. The Great Society has had four decades to prove itself, and it is time for a new solution.
What will lift women and their children out of poverty is not money, but marriage not the public dole, but private commitment. A married family has the highest income and is less likely to experience poverty; a married man is more likely to be employed. Women who grow up in an intact married family are far less likely to enter the cycle of poverty with a non-marital pregnancy.
The new solution has been with us all along. It is time to rebuild a culture of marriage that encourages fathers and mothers to raise their children, and their economic status, together.