Impacts of Marital Status and Parental Presence on the Material Hardship of Families with Children

Research Report

Impacts of Marital Status and Parental Presence on the Material Hardship of Families with Children

July 1, 2002

Abstract

The decline in marriage and its serious consequences for poverty and inequality are well documented. This paper concentrates on how marriage, cohabitation, single parenthood and the presence of biological parents affect the incomes and material hardships of children. The study uses data from the National Survey of America's Families to examine: 1) recent changes in the marital and household structure of families with children, 2) how levels of income and material hardship vary by family structure, and 3) whether marriage acts to reduce material hardship, even among families with low incomes and among children of less-educated mothers.

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