Tuesday, May 15, 2001

Here are yet more interesting findings from the 2000 census. One of the most disheartening statistics:

The new figures showed that living together without getting married is no longer taboo, with the number of unmarried people living as couples increasing by 72 percent to 5.47 million in 2000 from 3.19 million in 1990. Some of those unmarried couples have children.

I'm not at all surprised that the number of unmarried couples living together is on the rise. I am however, somewhat shocked at how sharply the numbers have increased.

Another discouraging statistic:

The number of families led by women with no husband present grew nearly three times faster in the 1990s than the number of married couples with children.

I work with poor African-American kids in inner-city St. Louis. The ministry where I work is located in the middle of 4 low-income federal housing projects. In some of those housing projects the number of fatherless households is 90% (according to 1990 census numbers). For many of these kids a fatherless home is almost a "nail in the coffin" in terms of them escaping poverty, getting a decent education, and repeating the pattern of fatherless homes when they grow up. It's harrowing to realize the effects of illegitimacy on these kids, not to mention the effects it has on solo moms. It would be bad enough if this trend was limited to the urban poor, but unfortunately that is far from the case. I read an article in the Post-Dispatch earlier this year that showed that in almost every category -- illegitimacy, illiteracy, firearms related emergency room visits, etc. -- a rural Missouri county had higher rates than the city of St. Louis.

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