The following op-ed piece appeared in the June 3 edition of the Los Angeles Times. 

….In its broad outlines, the story is familiar by now. In 1965, 93% of all American births were to women with marriage licenses. Over the next few decades, the percentage of babies with no father around rose steadily. As of 1970, 11% of births were to unmarried mothers; by 1990, that number had risen to 28%. Today, 41% of all births are to unmarried women. And for mothers under 30, the rate is 53%.

Though other Western countries also concluded that it was OK for the unmarried to have kids, what they had in mind as the substitute for marriage was something similar to it: a stable arrangement in which two partners, cohabiting over the long term, would raise their children together. The embrace of “lone motherhood” — women bringing up kids with no dad around — has been an American specialty.

“By age 30, one-third of American women had spent time as lone mothers,” observed family scholar Andrew Cherlin in his 2009 book, The Marriage-Go-Round. “In European countries such as France, Sweden and the western part of Germany, the comparable percentages were half as large or even less.”

The single-mother revolution has been an economic catastrophe for women. Poverty remains relatively rare among married couples with children; the U.S. census puts only 8.8% of them in that category, up from 6.7% since the start of the Great Recession. But more than 40% of single-mother families are poor, up from 37% before the downturn. In the bottom quintile of earnings, most households are single people, many of them elderly. But of the two-fifths of bottom-quintile households that are families, 83% are headed by single mothers. The Brookings Institution’s Isabel Sawhill calculates that virtually all the increase in child poverty in the United States since the 1970s would vanish if parents still married at 1970 rates….

Women and their children weren’t the only ones to suffer the economic consequences of the single-mother revolution; low-earning men have lost ground too. Knowing that women are now expected to be able to raise children on their own, unskilled men lose much of the incentive to work, especially at the sometimes disagreeable jobs that tend to be the ones they can get. Scholars consistently find that unmarried men work fewer hours, make less money and get fewer promotions than do married men….

On the other hand, those who opt for single motherhood are hurting not just themselves but their offspring. The children of single mothers are twice as likely as children growing up with both parents to drop out of high school. Those who do graduate are less likely to go to college, even if you control for household income and the mother’s education.

Decades of research show that kids growing up with single mothers (again, even after you allow for the obvious variables) have lower scholastic achievement from kindergarten through high school, as well as higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse, depression, behavior problems and teen pregnancy. All these factors are likely to reduce their eventual incomes at a time when what children need is more education, more training and more planning. The rise in single motherhood was ill-adapted for the economic shifts of the late 20th century.

For the original story, Click here.



Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 4:34 AM By InformedAndFree
The Catholic Church has done a great job providing help to women in crisis pregnancies and offering diapers, cribs, housing and monetary aid, but somehow we have neglected to be part of the solution or cure of the problem of single-motherhood.

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 6:16 AM By Life Lady
All this should tell us something. Mother who are raising children alone have a tough row to hoe. Having been married, but with absent fathers, I understand the problems of parenting alone. Children do much better with an involved father, but even in the absence of one, an involved family member (uncle, cousin) is better than nothing. Women need to hold themselves to a higher standard than the one they have been dealt. There is no substitution for God in your life, and no substitution for prayer. Without it my children would likely have all fallen into crime, and other things I don’t want to think about. Heaven knows, they tried hard enough to disagree and disappoint me. But I had support, and thank God, it worked. Our future is in our hands, and our children are the future we give. Pray for those mothers out there, suffering from being alone, but pray for their souls and their children to be raised with a love of God. That is the only solution.

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 6:30 AM By Te
Statistics about the effect on the children aside, the thing that needs to be kept in mind is this – the Welfare system has systematically (and I believe purposely) created generations of people dependent on government. And that is the REAL name of the tune. Create dependent subjects, not self-sufficient citizens.

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 7:01 AM By Sandra
The “culprit”–The Pill. Sex, drugs and rock n roll. Problem is there are consequences for promiscuity–high divorce rates, unplanned pregnancies, abortion and children reared in “disordered” environments–by divorce, single parent homes and same sex parent homes. The only remedies are abstinence outside of marriage, Sacramental Marriages, offering children up for adoption into stable homes with a mother and a father and emptying of “self” and filling up our souls with the “will” of Our Lord–His plan is for the greater good of all.

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 7:14 AM By MATT
Amongst Catholics this gets back to poor catechesis, and allowing TV and other secular media to dictate that sex outside of marriage is appropriate. So when is the LA TIMES going to write about the bad influence of the SECULAR media ? ? ? If all the Bishops, Priests, Nuns and most importantly Parents taught the following – society would not be in this fix. CCC:” 2353 Fornication is carnal union between an unmarried man and an unmarried woman. It is gravely contrary to the dignity of persons and of human sexuality which is naturally ordered to the good of spouses and the generation and education of children. Moreover, it is a grave scandal when there is corruption of the young.” AND CCC: “2396 Among the sins gravely contrary to chastity are masturbation, fornication, pornography, and homosexual practices.”

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 7:18 AM By MacDonald
Well, these single mothers did not get pregnant ALONE by some miracle. If the (single) dads did THEIR duty, they would (a) only make love to the woman they married, (b) do their best to keep their family together, (c) work darned hard for their wife and children to make the best life possible for the family. Far too often, the woman gets stuck because a man can get her pregnant and run off to chase after another woman, but she, as a mom, has a beloved baby to care for. This is why I admire those “new” groups that encourage men to stand up and be men by embracing virtue and sticking with family life.

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 7:44 AM By JLS
No, these women are not single mothers, because they are married to the US government.

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 7:45 AM By NAN
FORNICATION is a Mortal Sin. Parents teach your children while they are in Junior High. They already know about the sex act from TV and other secular MEDIA. Do not underestimate the influence of the media.

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 7:46 AM By NAN
ADULTERY is a Mortal Sin too, and causes the break up of many legitimate familes.

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 7:56 AM By ANNA
Parents, Grandparents, Godparents, how well do you supervise what your children see on TV, on IPODs, on Computers, books, etc? Do they watch EWTN? Do they read age appropriate Bibles? Do they read age appropriate catechisms? You must CONFESS NOT RAISING your CHILDREN properly. CCC: ” 2223 Parents have the first responsibility for the education of their children. They bear witness to this responsibility first by creating a home where tenderness, forgiveness, respect, fidelity, and disinterested service are the rule. The home is well suited for education in the virtues. This requires an apprenticeship in self-denial, sound judgment, and self-mastery – the preconditions of all true freedom. Parents should teach their children to subordinate the material and instinctual dimensions to interior and spiritual ones. Parents have a grave responsibility to give good example to their children. By knowing how to acknowledge their own failings to their children, parents will be better able to guide and correct them: He who loves his son will not spare the rod. . . . He who disciplines his son will profit by him. Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord. “

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 7:59 AM By Sally
Financially, each Mother must legally make the Fathers PAY to support his own children. This is law in all States. Every few years get update the amount of $ he is required to pay based upon his latest income and cost of living.

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 8:05 AM By scub
Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society rewards single parenting and punishes married couples. The state has now become the father. (The Catholic Church helps to perpetuate this process by continuing to support ‘government’ as paternal provider – at taxpayer expense). Turn off the free money for single parenthood – and the family will rise again.

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 8:13 AM By Sara
Women may have to raise the children alone, but then most of the FINANCIAL responsibility belongs to the FATHER. DNA is proof positive. Make them pay or go to jail. It is not the responsibility of non-family to pay for the fornication and divorce sins of others. All child care laws must be enforced. The Mother must make certain that the Father pays using all legal means.

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 8:41 AM By Maryanne Leonard
Correction: 100% of the babies fathered actually have fathers. There is no such thing as babies born without fathers. What the Times meant to say, but is too politically correct to state the obvious, is that an increasing percentage of women are allowing irresponsible men to use them for purely sexual purposes outside of marriage, thus risking becoming pregnant with children who will be growing up a burden to their promiscuous mothers, and generally to society as well, but not to their irresponsible fathers. Those irresponsible fathers are most likely off seeking other easy sexual prey and perhaps fathering more children who will most likely financially burden society – which means you and me as taxpayers. Why newspapers talk about unmarried mothers and never mention unmarried fathers is beyond me.

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 11:44 AM By Idaho Pete
I used to think that the atomic bomb was the most evil invention but I have come to the conclusion that the destruction of our, once, moral and sensible society came about through acceptance and use of an evil little pill. In 1965 the contraceptive pill had not been around long and most Americans still had a sense of shame about out of wedlock children. Long term dating, with marriage the eventual goal, was still in vogue and if by chance the couple found themselves in a family way, the marriage came sooner along with a “preemie baby”. Both had a sense of responsiblity to the child and to each other and it gave a cultural saving face and societal resolution. As the pill became more broadly used promiscuity increased, the sense of long term committment to one person declined along with shame of having illigitimate children. Abortion totally removed a male’s sense of responsibility but it also took away his conscience and parential rights. Remember prior times he could be liable for child support for 21 years. Intervening into our past strong cultural norms has resulted in open lustful promiscuity, increased illigitmate births and the horror of millions of abortions. All because of a little pill.

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 12:16 PM By bettybbret
Sally, my unmarried daughter hauled her “boyfriend ” into court five times to get him to pay child support. Then he disappeared from sight and was never seen again. His friends thought he had moved to Arizona but they weren’t sure. His parents, sister, etc “had no idea where he was”. So much for telling the boyfriend that he must support his little son.

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 12:34 PM By JLS
What we have today is the norm for many people, which is called “steady flow of husbands”. Thank the govt for stepping up to the role of “big daddy” and sending the sugar checks each month. Let’s see, ten kids, no husband, at $1500 per kid per month … now I understand how those single women drive a Rolls Royce and have male servants standing at the ready.

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 3:23 PM By Carolyn
Boy this is a complex issue. I do agree with Idaho Pete that the pill was one of the catalyst’s that began the downfall of the family, but so many other factors are part of the picture. I often think about this, did you ever wonder how things all began to really go down hill after President Kennedy was killed? The drugs, the sexual revolution, the music, increased adultery, abortion, the pill, AIDS, Vatican II, feminist movement and on and on. It was like we were really going to be tested and certain evils were let out of a box or something. Now look where we are….a big mess. Time to get back to the ten commandments. By the way I am on the road, and just saw a BIG sign of the 10 commandments in Fairfield North Dakota, very impressive.

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 4:05 PM By Becie
The PC use of “single mother” bothers me. These are either unwed mothers, divorced mothers, or widows. Language plays a big influence on how one views something; when we begin reflecting the truth again, society will follow.

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 6:37 PM By Anne T.
If some men can get away with having sex without committment, they will do it. Wake up teens and ladies! Make them marry you first, and if you (the both of you) do sin and the woman gets pregnant, most often the best choice is to adopt the child out to a two parent heterosexual family if the father is unwilling to take responsibility for his child. There are even open adoptions now, where the mother can choose the adoptive parents, and the mother can even be part of the child’s life in certain ways if the adoptive parents agree. Make good choices in your life, and you will not regret it.

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 6:40 PM By Kenneth M. Fisher
7:59 AM By Sally, Those laws you tout are very bad laws. My nephew, in spite of the fact that he did not have a job and his estranged wife who sought the divorce did, had to pay so much for child support and his rights of visitation, that he was practically left destitute. I know the same can apply in reverse, but much less often. We need God loving and fearing legislators who will always have God’s Laws in mind when writing legislation. Instead we have for the most part elected those who promise the biggest lollypop, never mind who has to pay for that lollypop. In short, if we put God first, the rest will take care of itself. God bless, yours in Their Hearts, Kenneth M. Fisher

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 6:58 PM By Anne T.
Also, many churches and pro-life crisis pregnancy centers have good brochures that tell women what to look for in a husband and how not bo get too involved while dating. Getting involved sexually with someone outside of marriage does not leave the couple’s minds free to make good choices about what they truly want in a good marriage partner, and such behavior clouds the mind with too much emotion to see the dangerous faults in another person that will destroy any chances of a good marriage. More emotional scars are left on such couples, too, if there is a break up. Even Focus on the Family, an evangelical website, has such pamplets, and I am sure there are many Catholic sites with them too. Most often they can be gotten free or for a nominal charge.

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 7:52 PM By bud
Frankly, I am sick and tired of constantly listening to the “SINGLE MOM” title as if they had absolutely nothing to do with their decisions to get pregnant. I am surprised in this day and age of “discrimination” laws being used to placate transgenders, lesbians and other gays demanding perceived rights at anyone’s expense except their own, that a rash of similar laws aren’t coming to treat them above everyone else. So many even continue to have more of the same what we used to call bastards but they do get more freebies for each child born. Sound heartless? It is, but the statistics above prove it. Combine this with the other side of the “womens movement” spectrum……..they would rather abort and kill the babies if possible (300,000) a year! During the same span of time since women’s radical lib. they have taken many many men’s jobs from public road workers to being cops, acceptable for front line wars of the politicians while someone else gets to take care of their babies. Tell me that this is fair or moral to destroy the family with the encouragement of the ultra leftist government.

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 8:53 PM By Francis
Link two points made: “…unskilled men lose much of the incentive to work, especially at the sometimes disagreeable jobs that tend to be the ones they can get” and “On the other hand, those who opt for single motherhood are hurting not just themselves but their offspring…” and you can see how an outsourced economy, bereft of blue-collar jobs with which a young semi-skilled man could support a family, links to the abortion rate. When the L.A. Times writes about “those who opt for single motherhood” they aren’t talking about women who opt for SINGLE motherhood rather than MARRIED motherhood, but rather who opt for motherhood rather than abortion. The men have little economic value to them.

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 9:57 PM By JLS
bud, the annual death toll from abortion is about one million more than what you posted. The Pope, btw, has given us the answer to the problem … A. bishops must become holy, B. families must be developed, C. otherwise it ain’t gonna work, no matter what.

Posted Tuesday, June 05, 2012 10:00 PM By JLS
Wouldn’t it be great to have a large stable of single mothers, managing them, organizing them, protecting them … for a fee of course, directly from the wealth being collected by the single women for each of their children: Hmn, but wait, isn’t that what a lot of government bureaucrats already have going for them?