Sunday, May 08, 2011

Single Mothers, Good or Bad?

A recent Pew Research Center poll asked whether "more single women having children without a male partner to help raise them" was a "bad thing for society." Not surprisingly, the 69 percent majority of the public said it was bad.

This is backwards thinking, however. It's not that single mothers are bad for society, it's that bad societies create single mothers. When men cannot find stable employment that pays a living wage, single mothers are the result. According to the National Center for Health Statistics 2009 report on births, here are the percentages of babies born to single mothers by race and Hispanic origin:

Black: 73%
Hispanic: 53%
Non-Hispanic white: 29%
Asian: 17%

Note the order of the race and Hispanic origin groups, with blacks most likely to have babies out of wedlock and Asians least likely. These numbers are not a measure of morals. They are a measure of the economic opportunity available to men in our society. Asian men are highly educated and typically earn above-average wages. Black men--even today--are often shut out of stable jobs that pay a living wage. Thus, the consequences on women and children.

Knowing these facts about men, women, and children, this trend should set off alarm bells: Between 1970 and 2009, the percentage of Americans babies born to single mothers climbed from 11 to 41 percent.

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