The health of the traditional family is critical to the health of American society. That’s a bold claim, we know. And any report that takes a strong stance on an issue like this is vulnerable to criticism. So we want to be clear about two points.

  • No simple solutions exist for the pressing social issues of our day – rising income inequality, disparity of educational opportunity, youth violence, and access to health care.
  • Single-mothers, as President Obama said, “are doing a heroic job, often under trying circumstances. … But they shouldn’t have to do it alone.”

It should surprise no one that an organization called Massachusetts Family Institute would publish a report promoting the benefits of the traditional family – mother, father and children living in the same home. Of course, we would hope that married people who read this report will be encouraged by the findings affirming that their commitment to their marriage is of great benefit to their children and a common good for our society as a whole.

But there is a negative message in this report as well: Children who grow up in single-parent homes are at a decided disadvantage in every critical area of their lives. They are much more likely to be poor, have problems in school, commit crime, be exposed to violence, and have difficulty accessing good healthcare.

Publicizing the disadvantages of single parenthood does not mean condemning or demonizing women or men who are already single parents.  Rather, it means pointing out the risks and burdens involved in lone parenthood to young women and men who are not yet parents. It means making them aware that there are choices they can make – such as to complete their educations, find jobs, and get married before they start families – that will dramatically lower the odds that their children will grow up in poverty.

We believe these facts need to be disseminated widely, confidently, and repeatedly.