Wednesday, April 15, 2015

50th anniversary of the Moynihan report

 
In 1963, the out-of-wedlock birth rate for whites was 3%; for blacks, it was 23%. In 2008, the out-of-wedlock birth  rates were 41% for Americans overall, and 72% for blacks.
 
NYT
"Fifty years ago this month, Democrats made a historic mistake.
Daniel Patrick Moynihan, at the time a federal official, wrote a famous report in March 1965 on family breakdown among African-Americans. He argued presciently and powerfully that the rise of single-parent households would make poverty more intractable.
“The fundamental problem,” Moynihan wrote, is family breakdown. In a follow-up, he explained: “From the wild Irish slums of the 19th-century Eastern seaboard, to the riot-torn suburbs of Los Angeles, there is one unmistakable lesson in American history: a community that allows large numbers of young men to grow up in broken families ... never acquiring any stable relationship to male authority, never acquiring any set of rational expectations about the future — that community asks for and gets chaos.” 
Liberals brutally denounced Moynihan as a racist. He himself had grown up in a single-mother household and worked as a shoeshine boy at the corner of Broadway and 43rd Street in Manhattan, yet he was accused of being aloof and patronizing, and of “blaming the victim.”
... 
In 2013, 71 percent of black children in America were born to an unwed mother, as were 53 percent of Hispanic children and 36 percent of white children.
Indeed, a single parent is the new norm. At some point before they turn 18, a majority of all American children will likely live with a single mom and no dad.
...
[C]hildren of unmarried moms are roughly five times as likely to live in poverty as children of married couples.
...
[G]rowing up with just one biological parent reduces the chance that a child will graduate from high school by 40 percent, according to an essay by Sara McLanahan of Princeton and Christopher Jencks of Harvard. They point to the likely mechanism: “A father’s absence increases antisocial behavior, such as aggression, rule-breaking, delinquency and illegal drug use.” These effects are greater on boys than on girls.
...
What can be done?
In line with Moynihan’s thinking, we can support programs to boost the economic prospects for poorer families. We can help girls and young women avoid pregnancy (30 percent of American girls become pregnant by age 19). If they delay childbearing, they’ll be more likely to marry and form stable families, notes Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution."

Whoa! How'd the eugenic thinking sneak in there?



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