The Blog

Family Ties

Any serious discussion of race must address out-of-wedlock births.

12:00 AM, Mar 27, 2008 • By DUNCAN CURRIE
Widget tooltip
Single Page Print Larger Text Smaller Text Alerts

More recently, a 2002 study by Rector and two of his Heritage colleagues concluded that "if marriage were restored to 1960 levels," the black child poverty rate "would fall by nearly a third." A separate 2002 study by Urban Institute economist Robert Lerman, which relied on data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation, found that "married couple households were much more likely to avoid poverty than all other types of households," and that "the apparent gains from marriage are particularly high among black households."

Due to America's racial history, blacks were uniquely vulnerable to the debilitating cultural trends of the post-1960s era and to the perverse incentives created by the federal welfare system. And indeed, today it is culture--not racism or a dearth of economic opportunities--that poses the biggest threat to black family structures, and thus to black progress. Any serious discussion of race must address that reality.

Duncan Currie is managing editor of The American.