State Senator Mary Lazich (R-New Berlin) represents parts of four counties: Milwaukee, Waukesha, Racine, and Walworth. Her Senate District 28 includes New Berlin, Franklin, Greendale, Hales Corners, Muskego, Waterford, Big Bend, the town of Vernon and parts of Greenfield, East Troy, and Mukwonago. Senator Lazich has been in the Legislature for more than a decade. She considers herself a tireless crusader for lower taxes, reduced spending and smaller government.
Poverty tightens its grip on
The U.S. Census Bureau reports poverty increased to 14.3 percent during 2009 from 13.2 percent the previous year. The percentage of Americans living in poverty is the highest level since 1994.
The Census Bureau reports one in seven Americans or 43.6 million people lived in poverty during 2009, up from 39.8 million during 2008. The poverty threshold for a family of four during 2009 was set at $21,954 by the federal government.
So what are the solutions? Certainly, more jobs and more Americans staying in school and finishing their education come to mind.
How about strengthening families and the institution of marriage? Marriage is directly linked to poverty. A new study by the Heritage Foundation calls marriage
According to the study, during the launch of the War on Poverty in 1964, a mere 6.3 percent of children in the
Odds are clearly stacked against single-parent families with children that are nearly six times more likely to be poor than married couples. Factors working against single-mother families are lower education levels of the mothers and lower income due to the absence of fathers.
Married couples head about two-thirds of families with children in
Racial boundaries don’t exist with poverty. The Washington D.C.-based nonprofit, nonpartisan organization Child Trends reports that according to U.S. Census Bureau data, children in single -parent households in all race/ethnicity groups are far more likely to be poor than children living in households headed by married parents:
“For non-Hispanic white children, the poverty rate in 2007 was 32.3 percent for children in single mother households compared with 4.7 percent for children in married households. Similarly for black children, the poverty rate was 50.2 percent compared with 11 percent. For Hispanic children, the poverty rate was 51.4 percent compared with 19.3 percent. For Asian children, the poverty rate was 32 percent compared with 9.7 percent.”
Three out of four unwed births occur, not to teenagers, but to young adult women between the ages of 18 and 29 according to the Heritage Foundation. The poverty rate for a single mother with only a high school diploma is 31.7 percent. However, the poverty rate for a married couple family headed by an individual with only a high school diploma is 5.6 percent.
An April 2009 report by the Institute for Research on Poverty at the
Consider marriage’s economic power. Marriage drops the poverty rate in
The Heritage Foundation recommends the following to reduce child poverty:
- Reduce anti-marriage penalties in welfare programs.
- Establish public awareness campaigns about the value of marriage in low-income areas.
- Require welfare offices to offer information about how marriage reduces poverty.
- Teach about the benefits of marriage in middle and high schools that have a large portion of at-risk students.
- Require federally funded birth control clinics to offer information about the benefits of marriage.
- Require those clinics to provide voluntary referrals for life planning and marriage skills instruction to low-income clients that are interested.
- Make voluntary marriage education readily accessible in low-income areas.
Child Trends puts it more succinctly:
“Support efforts to strengthen marriages and to decrease births to teens and unmarried women.”
I do agree wholeheartedly.