I found the following on the United States Congress Joint Economic Committee‘s website, The Demise of the Happy Two-Parent Home (jec.senate.gov). Here is how it starts.

Who are you? What have you become? Throughout our lives, we are enmeshed in a network of social relationships that influence us, for better or for worse. Most of our relationships have some value to us, else we would not be in them. They constitute social capital—a form of wealth every bit as valuable as financial or human capital.

Family relationships are the first a person experiences in life. Children are nurtured, taught, and socialized in the family, and from there learn to relate to others and participate in the broader society. A stable family offers the emotional security a child needs for healthy development. As Princeton University sociologist Sara McLanahan has noted:

If we were asked to design a system for making sure that children’s basic needs were met, we would probably come up with something quite similar to the two-parent ideal. Such a design, in theory, would not only ensure that children had access to the time and money of two adults, it also would provide a system of checks and balances that promoted quality parenting. The fact that both parents have a biological connection to the child would increase the likelihood that the parents would identify with the child and be willing to sacrifice for that child, and it would reduce the likelihood that either parent would abuse the child.1

(continued here (jec.senate.gov))

The document is 56 pages long. So I doubt most people will want to read it all the way through, but it is worth scanning.  Why?  Well, consider this observation.

Researchers have well established that children raised by married parents do better on a wide array of outcomes. They have stronger relationships with their parents, particularly with their fathers.7 They are also much less likely to experience physical, emotional or sexual abuse.8 They have better health, exhibit less aggression, are less likely to engage in delinquent behavior, have greater educational achievement, and earn more as adults.9 They are also far less likely to live in poverty.10

We live in the era of the welfare state. So, even supposedly Conservative Republicans feel obligated to socially engineer us into “good” people. Or is that “good workers”?  After all, this is a study out of the Joint Economic Committee.

Curiously, the report is somewhat ambiguous. What is causing the problem? One hypothesis is that men are becoming less marriageable, but that alternative is rejected. The second hypothesis is “that declines in our associational life, including family decline, are the consequence of rising affluence. Americans can afford to satisfy more of their needs through paid services and commercial insurance. ” In other words, because of rising affluence, we don’t need each other.

Yet few would argue that black Americans constitute the wealthiest among us. In Is Racism Responsible for Today’s Black Problems? Don Kroah with Dr. Walter Williams (christianoutlook.com), Walter E. Williams, a professor of economics at George Mason University, blames the welfare state.

Here is an extract from a column he wrote.

The first step is to acknowledge that the civil rights struggle is over and won. At one time, Black Americans did not enjoy the same constitutional guarantees as everyone else. Now we do. While no one can deny the existence of residual racial discrimination, racial discrimination is not the major problem confronting a large segment of the Black community.

A major problem is that some public and private policies reward dependency and irresponsibility.

Chief among these policies is the welfare state that has fostered a 75% rate of out-of-wedlock births and decimated the Black family that had survived Jim Crow and racism.

Keep in mind that in 1940, the Black illegitimacy rate was 11%, and most Black children were raised in two-parent families. Most poverty, about 25%, is found in female-headed households. The poverty rate among husband-and-wife Black families has been in the single digits for more than two decades. (from here (annistonstar.com))

Williams is not working for Congress. So, he can straightforwardly tell our leaders that their programs are doing more harm than good. Perhaps that is why he was less ambiguous than the writers of The Demise of the Happy Two-Parent Home.

Think about the consequences of that 75% rate of out-of-wedlock births among blacks. The social policies that have devastated black families have the potential to equally devastate other racial groups. It would be racist to think otherwise.

How is Prince William County doing with respect to children? Relatively okay, it appears. Consider this map.

Chart provided by the United States Census Bureau (from here (data.census.gov))

Like the rest of Northern Virginia, we are at the low end of the poverty scale.

Will things stay that way? Predicting the future is something for prophets. However, we should each, as parents, grandparents, and good neighbors, give some thought to the welfare of children. As Christians we know that parents need both a Godly father and Godly mother, two caring parents who do their best to instruct them in the Word of God. Therefore, the most important thing we can do to help each other properly raise our children well is to encourage families to study the Bible and attend church together. In addition, we need to support those families who want to send their children to schools where the Word of God is carefully studied and believed. If we want good children, we must raise them to be good, and that is much with two loving parents, not just one.

Additional References

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