Quantcast
Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014

Study shows education influences whether women have children outside of marriage

Compiled by Emily Hales, Deseret News National Edition

Published: Sat, June 21 6:35 a.m. MDT

 Nearly half of all children are born to unmarried mothers, which could be problematic because the women who are having children out of wedlock are generally less educated and more likely to live in poverty.

Nearly half of all children are born to unmarried mothers, which could be problematic because the women who are having children out of wedlock are generally less educated and more likely to live in poverty.

(Getty Images)

Waiting to get married to have children is becoming a thing of the past, at least for women who don't have a college degree.

Several studies over the past few years have found that the number of single mothers is surpassing the number of married mothers. The study "Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America," a report from the National Marriage Project, called the trend "The Great Crossover." And a new study presented at the Population Association of America found a direct correlation between education levels and the likelihood of having a child out of wedlock.

The less education a woman has, the more likely she is to have a baby without being married. Eighty-seven percent of women without a high school diploma have a child out of wedlock. The number decreases to 71 percent for high school graduates, 67 percent for women with one to three years of college and 32 percent for women with four or more years of college.

“The clear line is whether you have a four-year college degree,” the study's lead author, Johns Hopkins sociologist Andrew Cherlin, told The Atlantic. “There are two clear paths through adulthood — one for people who have a bachelor's degree and one for people who don't."

He explained that less-educated women are having children out of wedlock mainly because they don't see many other options. They aren't going to college, they aren't advancing professionally and having a child is an indicator of adulthood they can't achieve through other means.

Another reason young women often have children before marriage is because they see marriage as a "capstone" of life, rather than a "cornerstone," according to the "Knot Yet" report. Marriage is difficult to obtain, something that can only be achieved after financial stability has been reached.

But having children out of wedlock can make it difficult to attain that financial stability. A study by The Heritage Foundation found that 36.5 percent of single-parent families live in poverty. For two-parent families, the percentage is 6.4.

"Marriage remains America’s strongest anti-poverty weapon, yet it continues to decline," the report says. "As husbands disappear from the home, poverty and welfare dependence will increase, and children and parents will suffer as a result."

Children born to married parents, particularly when the parents are in a stable relationship, do better in the long run, according to a Deseret News article. While each individual case is different, and single parenthood doesn't necessitate instability and problems, experts agree that stability is best for the children.

"Unmarried couples are three times as likely to break up by a child’s fifth birthday as those who are married," Kay Hymowitz, a Manhattan Institute fellow, told Deseret News. "That often means absent fathers, higher risk of school failure, greater emotional turmoil, more early pregnancy themselves."

Emily Hales is an intern on the national team, covering issues facing families in the United States. She is a communications major at Brigham Young University.

Recommended
1. DN Subscriber
Cottonwood Heights, UT,
June 21, 2014

Excellent story. Too bad that those who would benefit from it will never see it or will ignore it.

"'Marriage remains America’s strongest anti-poverty weapon, yet it continues to decline," the report says. "As husbands disappear from the home, poverty and welfare dependence will increase, and children and parents will suffer as a result.'"

We have reached the point where politicians will bend over backwards to buy the votes of the near majority of "low information" voters who are "victims" of poverty, dysfunctional families and myriad other problems. They will reinforce the notion that marriage and husbands are unnecessary, along with religion, and thus seal their targets to life on the government welfare plantation. But, as the ostensible saviors of the downtrodden, these politicians can count on the vote of the very victims they keep in bondage.

Marriage, husbands and religion, along with education and a work ethic, and old fashioned morals are the solution to most of our modern problems.

2. Stalwart Sentinel
San Jose, CA,
June 21, 2014

So that evil, liberal, brainwashing college education is a stronger indicator than one's religious background on this subject. Hmm, sounds like a bad day for the religious right.

3. Tornado Mama
Dallas, TX,
June 21, 2014

The problem with this bit of research is that it perpetuates the myth that a couple needs a degree before they get married. That's not necessarily the case. An abundance of sociological research soundly demonstrates that the most important thing in the formula of life events is that marriage must precede childbearing.

The trick isn't to get educated before you get married; it's to get married before you have sex.

American culture sets its people up for failure. It simultaneously declares that marriage is only acceptable for couples in their late twenties, while at the same time presenting frequent sexual activity as normal and acceptable. Sex makes babies. Sooo, no matter how much birth control, children are going to be born outside of wedlock. And when they are, their mothers are basically guaranteed to see their boyfriends walk away. Leaving them to a lonely life of poverty.

Furthermore, research comparing couples who marry in their early twenties to those who marry later reveals truth that runs counter to American popular wisdom: Those who marry in their early twenties are happier and have more satisfying relationships than those who marry later, and their marriages are just as stable.

4. Llew40
Sandy, UT,
June 23, 2014

The fact that sex has replaced dating doesn't help either. Dating that leads to marriage is no longer a social ambition for single men which leaves women no other choice but to either lower their standards or live the rest of their lives in lonely celibacy.