Insecurity Busts Families

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“Financial security, even more than household composition, shapes children’s everyday experiences in ways that contribute to growing inequality.”                                   –Report by Council on Contemporary Families (CCF)

Low parental education and economic opportunity are linked to lower rates of marriage and increased single parenting, concludes a new CCF report.

Children’s household composition looks very different depending on parents’ educational attainment. These differences send kids off into different socioeconomic trajectories, the report states.

In 1960, 90 percent of children lived in homes with two married parents. In 2014, that number had decreased to 64 percent. The decline in marriage rates contributes to poverty. Economic inequality prevents many people from getting or staying married. These CCF findings merge both viewpoints.

In 2013, 77 percent of young adults from high-income families earned at least a bachelor’s degree by the time they turned 24. Only 9 percent of young adults from low-income families achieved the same. This holds true for both single parent and two-parent households, the CCF report notes.

In financially stable households children thrive, according to the study. “Kids thrive with a routine, and when there are rituals in everyday life, with time and resources spent on children, children tend to do better.”

High-income families spend three times as much money on extracurricular activities for children as low-income families, the study concludes. For example, 42 percent of middle and upper income children participate in sports, compared to 22.5 percent of children in poverty.

“Poverty and economic insecurity undermine people’s parenting skills.”

Horizonte, Salt Lake City School District’s alternative high school and adult education provider, students are virtually all from low-income homes. They are behind. Horizonte recognizes their potential and strives to help them seize it with high school completion and financial assistance to post high school training and college.