Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Why so many unwed moms

AP reports:
Seventy-two percent of black babies are born to unmarried mothers today, according to government statistics. ...

The black community's 72 percent rate eclipses that of most other groups: 17 percent of Asians, 29 percent of whites, 53 percent of Hispanics and 66 percent of Native Americans were born to unwed mothers in 2008, the most recent year for which government figures are available. The rate for the overall U.S. population was 41 percent. ...

There are simple arguments for why so many black women have children without marriage.

The legacy of segregation, the logic goes, means blacks are more likely to attend inferior schools. This creates a high proportion of blacks unprepared to compete for jobs in today's economy, where middle-class industrial work for unskilled laborers has largely disappeared.

The drug epidemic sent disproportionate numbers of black men to prison, and crushed the job opportunities for those who served their time. Women don't want to marry men who can't provide for their families, and welfare laws created a financial incentive for poor mothers to stay single.
This last argument seems to be the hardest for people to understand. People always respond to financial incentives. Every time they pass a law to benefit unwed moms, it increases our percentage of unwed moms.

You might think that child support laws would have no effect on the rate of unmarried moms rearing kids. What woman would rather collect child support than be married, you might ask. You would be wrong. Take Economics 101. There are always people on the margins, and there are millions of kids being raised by single moms because of the child support laws.

Update: Here is an unwed mom wannabe. She says:

"I immediately make it obvious I'm only after a one-night stand and most blokes are always up for that. ...

"Obviously, I encourage them to have unprotected sex, but some men want to use a condom.

"If they do, I always have one that I have pre-pricked in my handbag. That way the sex isn't a waste of time."


Anonymous said...

...because child support income in tax-free to the recipient, so there's your economic incentive. And spendable however the recipient wishes. Changing just those two aspects of the child support laws would no doubt have impact on the number of single moms. Of course if the laws also used real data and not the falsified stuff that came out in the 80s here in CA that'd be helpful as well. But then lawyers and politicians and other political animals don't deal in truth and facts, do they?

Anonymous said...

In the UK there was once a move to track down the fathers of babies to unwed mothers. The CSA were coercing mothers who really only wanted the baby and not the father because the benefits were higher. Some excuses used in failing to identify the father were "I was vomiting out of the window at the time and couldn't see who he was" to "he was violent" which meant they couldn't persue it "for the mothers protection." No government agency would admit these women were having babies just for benefits.