Suppose a scientific conference on cancer prevention never addressed smoking, on the grounds that in a free society you can’t change private behavior, and anyway, maybe the statistical relationships between smoking and cancer are really caused by some other third variable. Wouldn’t some suspect that the scientists who raised these claims were driven by something—ideology, tobacco money—other than science?
Yet in the current discussions about increased inequality, few researchers, fewer reporters, and no one in the executive branch of government directly addresses what seems to be the strongest statistical correlate of inequality in the United States: the rise of single-parent families during the past half century. (Source)
The same holds true in Canada.Statistics Canada’s own figures show that single-parent families are a huge source of poverty and fare much worse than two-parent families. Check this out:
About 571,000 children aged 17 and under, or 8.5% lived in low income in 2011, also unchanged from 2010. For children in lone-parent families headed by a woman, the incidence was 23.0%, while for children living in two-parent families, the incidence was 5.9%, both unchanged from 2010. (Source)
So children in lone-parent families headed by a woman, virtually the only type of single-parent family, have a poverty incidence roughly four times as high as families with two parents (note: it’s two parents, not two income-earners, although many may have two income-earners). These single parents are almost always the result of broken families, with the father often abandoning his responsibilities and leaving the mother to fend by herself with the kids.
This is a huge poverty burden on women. Yet, the media, policymakers and politicians choose to ignore the matter. They pretend that more government programs will solve the problem. Well, here’s a news flash for you: we already have tons of programs in place, and we keep adding more, but the problem isn’t going away because we’re not attacking the root cause.
We need to start a discussion on the complex issue of how to fix our families. Just because there’s no simple solution doesn’t mean we should bury our heads in the dirt as to what the causes are.