Family Research Council’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) today issued its fifth annual “Index of Family Belonging and Rejection.” The Index charts the present intactness of the family in the U.S. by examining the proportion of fifteen- to seventeen-year-olds who grew up in an intact, married family. The “State of the Black Family” report will also be released to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the 1965 release of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report on the black family.
Study highlights include:
- The Index of Family Belonging: The percentage of U.S. teenagers aged 15 to 17 who have grown up with both biological parents always married is 46 percent. The biological parents of the remaining 54 percent are either no longer married, or never did marry.
- Since 1950, the Index of Belonging for U.S. teenagers has decreased by 17 percent (from 63 percent to 46 percent).
- The Index of Belonging is 17 percent for black teenagers compared to 54 percent for white teenagers. This marks a 21 percent decrease in family belongingness for black teenagers since 1950, and a 13 percent decrease for white teenagers. The impacts of this disparity can be seen in the charts on poverty, education and welfare dependency.
- Family belonging has decreased for children of every age, both white and black, between 1950 and 2012.
On the state of the family today, Dr. Pat Fagan, Director and Senior Fellow at MARRI, and former Deputy Assistant Secretary for Family and Social Policy at the Department of Health and Human Services, commented:
“Marriage continues to produce as many benefits as ever. The immutable good of marriage is rooted in the created complementarity of male and female. Through the sexual act man and woman populate the world, but only within marriage will the sexual act produce a stable society.
“During the last century many worked to change this by severing sexual intercourse and the begetting of children from marriage. This social experiment has failed and nowhere is it more visible than in the black family and particularly in the plight of many young black men without the prospect of a good job, a stable marriage and a family they can call their own. What deprived them was the absence of a loving father married to their mother. Modern social policy and experiments have deprived them of such a father. Modern social policy is fatally flawed in its premises, principles and programs. On matters social it is not only a failure but a contributor to the decline of the family and especially of young black men.”
The Index of Family Belonging and Rejection is being unveiled alongside another MARRI report, The State of the Black Family.
FRC’s Senior Fellow of Church Ministries and President of S.T.A.N.D. Bishop E. W. Jackson made the following comments on the state of the black family:
“There is a profound crisis in the black community, one which has resulted in a devastating impact on the black family. The crisis, one related directly to marriage and the role of the church, has social and moral dimensions which have created an accelerating downward spiral – children raising children; young men looking for affirmation of manhood through gangs, violence and fathering children without taking responsibility for them. The black church, still a major influence in the lives of many, has failed to address this downward spiral. Only God, prayer and a good church led by a good pastor can lead people toward chastity, life-long marriage and a stable family. The black church must lead in this area,” Jackson concluded.
FRC’s Ken Blackwell, Senior Fellow for Family Empowerment and former Ohio Secretary of State, released the following comments on the state of the black family:
“The number of black children in intact families is too low, resulting in fatherless children growing up not having experienced the love of both their mom and dad. The crisis of broken black families is as bleak as it has ever been, but there is a path forward. None of this can be turned around by more and bigger government. No government program can replace the security and love that family belonging provides a child. What can be done? First, do no harm. Or do no more harm. A first but critical step, is putting an end to policies that discourage and penalize marriage – the only institution that can supply the needs of children,” Blackwell concluded.
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