SocietyWatch

From the March 2015 Trumpet Print Edition

Traditional families declining

Traditional families in America continue to decline, according to a December 2014 Pew Research Center survey.

In 1960, 73 percent of children lived with both biological parents, while 9 percent lived with a single parent. By 2013, children living with both biological parents dropped to 46 percent, and children in single-parent homes increased to 34 percent. Less than half of American children know what it is like to live with both Dad and Mom.

Having children out of wedlock is becoming increasingly popular. Since 1960, the percentage of children born to unmarried parents has jumped from 5 to 41 percent.

Traditional families positively affect the development and education of children. Children of married couples are better off economically, more stable mentally, more successful academically, and even healthier—even throughout adulthood (infographic, page 18).

“The empirical claim that no notable differences exist must go,” Mark Regnerus, an associate sociology professor at the University of Texas at Austin, said in his controversial 2012 study in Social Science Research. “[C]hildren appear most apt to succeed well as adults when they spend their entire childhood with their married mother and father, and especially when the parents remain married to the present day.”

As “Marriage From a Child’s Perspective,” a June 2002 Child Trends research paper, said, “[I]t is not simply the presence of two parents, as some have assumed, but the presence of two biological parents that seems to support children’s development.”

The traditional family is under threat in America—and other Western nations—and as a consequence, so is the strength of the nation. Strong family is the foundation on which strong countries are built. Once we start chipping away at that foundation, we seriously undermine the nation’s strength. To learn more about the profound ramifications of this trend, request a free copy of our booklet Redefining Family.

One small emergency away from the street

Most Americans are only one paycheck away from the street, according to a survey reported by MarketWatch on January 10. The survey of 1,000 adults found that approximately 62 percent of Americans have no emergency savings for things such as a $1,000 emergency room visit or a $500 car repair.

A 2014 U.S. Federal Reserve survey involving more than 4,000 adults made similar discoveries. “Savings are depleted for many households after the recession,” it found; 57 percent of household had used up some or all of their savings during and after the recession. Only 39 percent said they had enough money in a rainy day fund to cover three months of expenses. Furthermore, more than half of the respondents said they could not finance a hypothetical emergency expense costing $400 unless they sold something or borrowed the money.

Andrew Meadows, the producer of Broken Eggs, a documentary about retirement, found that one of the biggest reasons people aren’t saving is because they’re in debt from the 2007 recession. “People are still feeling the heat from the Great Recession,” he said.

Pew Research Center released a report in December 2014 that calculated the net worth of American families—that is, their total assets minus their liabilities—since the recession began. In 2007 it was $135,700, but by 2013 it had dropped 40 percent to $81,400.

Most Americans still keep a household budget though. The Bankrate survey showed that in 2012, 60 percent of Americans had a budget. Now that figure has jumped to 82 percent. Claes Bell, a banking analyst at Bankrate, said this is good, but he also pointed out that “too few have the ability to cover expenses outside their budget without going into debt or turning to family and friends for help.” This means a critical element of their budget is missing—an emergency fund.

However, there is an even more important element in successful budgeting that almost everybody misses. To find out what that is, request a free copy of our booklet Solve Your Money Troubles!