The Path Forward
Researchers haven’t reached a definitive reason for why there are so many single parent homes in America. Increased premarital sex, births to unmarried couples and long-term increases in divorce and separation are believed to have contributed to the rise of single-parent families.
One of the biggest factors is the US incarceration rate. Incarcerated parents account for the cause of 15% of the children in single-parent homes.
🫂 Stop breaking up families - The US has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Moreover, a Black child is 6x more likely as a White child to have an incarcerated parent. If we know the importance of family structure on opportunity in America, then we need to stop incarcerating people at such high rates, namely Black men, and ensure that families can more easily stay together.
💰 Increase the Child Tax Credit (CTC) - The Biden administration dramatically expanded the CTC, but significant work remains to support families in need. The CTC, along with the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), is America’s most successful and essential poverty relief program because it focuses specifically on families with children. This program is incredibly helpful for boosting the income and opportunity of single-parent homes, thereby living children out of poverty. However, 35 million families no longer receive the monthly payments, the last of which were sent in December 2021.
🪢 Create community support - Raj Chetty’s research found that the lack of Black fathers in households could be improved by Black fathers in communities. We don’t always need more dads in the home, but father figures in the community can help children grow. Black boys’ employment rates are higher and their school suspension rates are lower in “areas with higher black father presence.”
🏛 Improve access to abortion and contraception - In a review of data before Roe and after, economists found that access to abortion reduced the odds of dropping out of school, being unmarried, and living in poverty, especially for Black women. The same holds true for children - access to abortion is associated with more children going to college and not growing up reliant on public assistance.