Married Parents Face Poverty, Too

BY: - 21 Nov '12 | Money

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Conversations involving poverty often revolve around single parenthood, unmarried mothers and the like. However recent data has shown that the poverty rate for married couples is going up–an increase of 47 percent since 2000.

While single parents have always seen more financial burdens, the fall of wages and rise of unemployment combined with lack of paid leave and affordable childcare has caused married couples who don’t even have kids to see a 22 percent rise in poverty rates. Married couples who do have kids, are “even more recession-sensitive,” because they have more expenses and less flexibility according to CEPR report author, Shawn Fremstad.

“Poverty and economic insecurity are about a lot more than having children out of wedlock,” says Fremstad, who notes that many of the people now viewed as “single” in poverty statistics actually live with a partner. “There are a lot of people who, if they said ‘I do,’ would still be in the same boat.” Fremstad also says that the data show disability is also a significant problem, affecting roughly 10 percent of poor married families.”

The objective is not to create a situation of seeing who’s worst off, but to build a better understanding of poverty so we can get rid of it. Public policy professor at Harvard, Kathryn Edin, explains reasons why poor women put motherhood before marriage in her book, Promises I Can Keep.The solution to poverty is not getting married, it’s more about getting good jobs, decent wages and flexibility.

Read more on the Atlantic website.

BMWK– What do you see as possible causes of poverty? Do you see any way to combat it?


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