ERIC Number: ED381603
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1995-Jan
Reference Count: N/A
Welfare, Out-of-Wedlock Childbearing, and Poverty: What Is the Connection?
Parrott, Sharon; Greenstein, Robert
In his well-known article "The Coming White Underclass" and other writings Charles Murray has suggested that welfare is the primary cause of out-of-wedlock childbearing. He contends that welfare, including Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC), food stamps, and subsidized housing, should be eliminated. While Murray's views have gained a wide hearing, there is substantial evidence to suggest that welfare is not the primary cause of illegitimate births or teenage pregnancy. Contrary to popular impression, most out-of-wedlock births are not to teenagers. In fact, only 13% occur among women under age 18. Most researchers have found no connection, or only a small one, between AFDC benefits and childbearing decisions of young unmarried women. It must be noted that the rise in out-of-wedlock childbearing is a society-wide trend, not concentrated among the poor, and influenced by many factors beyond welfare. Since the early 1970s, welfare benefits have fallen in purchasing power, but the proportion of children born outside of marriage has continued to rise. It is conceded that the welfare system needs substantial reform, but its elimination would abandon many poor children and their families. Two figures and two tables illustrate the discussion, and an appendix provides a research summary. (SLD)
Descriptors: Adolescents, Blacks, Early Parenthood, Economically Disadvantaged, Family Structure, Illegitimate Births, Low Income Groups, Poverty, Social Class, Sociocultural Patterns, Unwed Mothers, Welfare Recipients, Welfare Services
Publications Service, Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 777 N. Capitol Street, N.E., Suite 705, Washington, DC 20002.
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, Washington, DC.
Identifiers: Aid to Families with Dependent Children; Reform Efforts