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Valuing All Our Families; Progressive Policies that Strengthen Family Commitments and Reduce Family Disparities

January 20, 2015 Comments off

Valuing All Our Families; Progressive Policies that Strengthen Family Commitments and Reduce Family Disparities
Source: Center for American Progress

Stable, healthy marriages and relationships can bolster the economic security and well-being of adults and children. Too often, however, national debates about the American family have been limited to arguing the merits of married versus single parenthood or “traditional” families versus “alternative” ones. An underlying assumption often seems to be that these are static types of families that children are born into and remain in until they leave home.

Reality is much more complex. Relatively few children—less than one in four—currently live in families with married parents in which only the father is employed, compared to the roughly two in three children who did in 1960. Families in the United States—including those headed by married parents—appear to be much more unstable than in most other wealthy nations. In fact, more than half of U.S. children today will spend at least part of their childhoods not living with two biological parents, even though the vast majority of children begin their lives living with both of them. A family headed by only one adult is typically not a permanent state; rather, it is more frequently a transitional situation. Moreover, grandparents, other kin, and parents living apart from their children often play major and supporting roles in their children’s upbringing.

This complex reality does not mean that policymakers should throw up their hands and conclude that public policy can do little to influence children’s or adults’ stability and well-being via family-related policies. As argued in this report, a clear-eyed approach that better aligns family policy with the lived experience of 21st century families could provide the necessary supports to improve American family life. Such an approach should eschew simple diagnoses and prescriptions, such as the idea held by some conservatives that only the decline in marriage needs to be reversed, primarily through cultural change, or the idea held by some progressives that only the economy needs to be fixed.

MPI Releases Detailed Data Profiles of Unauthorized Immigrants and Estimates of Deferred Action Populations for Top U.S. Counties

January 16, 2015 Comments off

MPI Releases Detailed Data Profiles of Unauthorized Immigrants and Estimates of Deferred Action Populations for Top U.S. Counties
Source: Migration Policy Institute

The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) today released data profiles of unauthorized immigrants in the 94 U.S. counties with the largest such populations, including detailed information on population size, countries of origin, recency of arrival, educational enrollment and attainment, health insurance coverage, poverty levels and potential eligibility for the two deferred action programs launched by the Obama administration.

The profiles for the 94 counties, which are home to approximately two-thirds of the 11.4 million unauthorized immigrants in the United States, are the latest addition to a unique data tool that offers detailed information on this population at national and state levels, including those potentially eligible for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program or the recently announced Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents (DAPA) program. Using an innovative MPI methodology that takes U.S. Census Bureau data and imputes legal status for noncitizens, the tool also provides estimates of the age, gender, parental and marital status, top languages spoken, labor force participation and home ownership rates for unauthorized immigrants.

The county profiles reveal that the top five counties with the largest populations potentially eligible for relief from deportation through DACA or DAPA — Los Angeles, CA; Harris, TX; Orange, CA; Cook, IL; and Dallas, TX — account for 1.1 million people, over one-fifth of the total potentially eligible population nationwide, which MPI estimates at 5.2 million.

Gray Divorce: A Growing Risk Regardless of Class or Education

January 15, 2015 Comments off

Gray Divorce: A Growing Risk Regardless of Class or Education
Source: Council on Contemporary Families

In contrast to the seeming stabilization of divorce rates for the general population over the past two decades, the gray divorce rate has doubled: Married individuals aged 50 and older, including the college-educated, are twice as likely to experience a divorce today as they were in 1990. For married individuals aged 65 and older, the risk of divorce has more than doubled since 1990. Researchers explain why.

Marital Disruption and Health Insurance

January 5, 2015 Comments off

Marital Disruption and Health Insurance
Source: Urban Institute

Despite the high levels of marital disruption in the United States and the fact that a significant portion of health insurance coverage for those less than age 65 is based on family membership, surprisingly little research is available on the consequences of marital disruption for the health insurance coverage of men, women, and children.

Violence perpetrated by ex-spouses in Canada

December 30, 2014 Comments off

Violence perpetrated by ex-spouses in Canada
Source: Justice Canada

Intimate partner violence affects the lives of many Canadians. In 2011, there were 97,451 victims of police-reported intimate partner violence1 (Sinha 2013) with women representing 80% of the victims of police-reported intimate partner violence in 2011.

While these numbers provide some insight into the prevalence of spousal violence2 in Canada, it only reflects a small portion of the actual violence that occurs. Data from the 2009 General Social Survey – Victimization (GSS) found that only 22% of victims of self-reported spousal violence reported the incident to the police (Brennan 2011). These numbers also do not provide information on the prevalence of violence perpetrated by ex-spouses, nor the experiences of victims of ex-spousal violence

Was Moynihan Right?

December 22, 2014 Comments off

Was Moynihan Right?
Source: Education Next

Today’s single mothers are far less likely than their predecessors to have ever been married. In 1960, 95 percent of single mothers had been married at some point in the past. The major sources of single motherhood were separation from a spouse, divorce, and widowhood, in that order. By 2013, only half of all single mothers had ever been married.

The historical shift from formerly married to never-married mothers has meant that single motherhood usually occurs earlier in a child’s life. Mothers who marry and then divorce typically spend a number of years with their husband before separating. Today, many women become single mothers when their first child is born. The shift to never-married motherhood has probably weakened the economic and emotional ties between children and their absent fathers.

A second change is that unmarried motherhood has spread fastest among mothers who have not completed college.

Are Pornography and Marriage Substitutes for Young Men?

December 22, 2014 Comments off

Are Pornography and Marriage Substitutes for Young Men?
Source: Institute for the Study of Labor

Substitutes for marital sexual gratification may impact the decision to marry. Proliferation of the Internet has made pornography an increasingly low-cost substitute. We investigate the effect of Internet usage, and of pornography consumption specifically, on the marital status of young men. We show that increased Internet usage is negatively associated with marriage formation. Pornography consumption specifically has an even stronger effect. Instrumental variables and a number of robustness checks suggest that the effect is causal.

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