Many good things came about in the 1960’s; such as the sexual revolution and the empowerment of women, but along with these were also the rise in single-mother households. With this new independence, many women took marriage off the to-do list.
In 1965, 93% of babies were born to married women. Today 41% of births are occurring to women who are unmarried and if they are under 30 years old that number rises to 53%.
This development has been a uniquely American phenomenon. Other Western Nations have followed the trend in the decrease in the marriage rate but the alternatives have been different. Those countries in which marriage rates are on the decline, still look at a 2-parent household as the ideal, therefore, more children are being born to long-term partners who live together and have a stable home life. American women have been alone in their willingness and, at times desire, to solo parent, without a father present.
This phenomenon has lead to a sharp increase in the number of women and children living in poverty. In other words, this cultural revolution has had a disastrous effect on a very large number of people. The US Census Bureau shows staggering statistics that show that the overwhelming majority of those living below the poverty level reside in these single-mother homes. Even when the experts controlled for education and circumstances, unmarried women, along with unmarried men, suffer more financially than their married counterparts.
The struggle is then passed down to the next generation according to the data. Children raised only by mom, in general, tend to be less likely to go to college, do poorer in school, and have higher rates of depression and substance abuse. This increase in single moms came at a time during which the American economy simply couldn’t support it.
There is no doubt that there are successful examples of moms raising their children solo, and often this is not by choice, but by the loss of a spouse. In general, the move away from marriage has not been a benefit when it comes to socioeconomic status for families and points to an urgent need for women, and men, of all ages to be mindful of the financial ramifications of having children prior to embarking on the journey of parenthood.
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