A new government study shows that more unmarried women are having children nowadays. The current figure is approximately forty percent, up almost fifty percent since last surveyed in 1980.
The worldwide average is a bit higher than that of the USA, but Iceland tops the charts at approximately sixty-six percent.
According to Kelly Musick, professor at Cornell University in New York:
“The relationships of the parents are much less stable in the U.S. than a lot of other countries. In Europe, where there are high levels of childbearing outside of marriage, when childbearing is not happening in marriage, it’s happening in cohabitation. Cohabitations are reasonably stable.”
Kelly goes on to say:
“We in the United States have taken more time and energy to study these families and figure out what the family lives of kids born to unmarried women are like. It’s seen much more as a problem and something we want to understand. There’s less attention to it in Europe. People are less concerned about their kids being born outside of marriage because they’re generally born to two parents in a relationship that tends to be stable.”
I’d be curious to find out where these researchers got their information. Understandably, the rates of unmarried women giving live birth could easily be accessed through a census, but I’d like to know where they’re getting the ideas that unmarried women lead these tumultuous lives where the children are at high risk for neglect or another form of abuse.
I previously worked for a state children’s welfare agency and granted, I saw a lot of garbage (but also a lot of legitimate problems) filter in and out of the place. The problem of dysfunctional families do exist, but I highly doubt it’s because there’s an absent parent in the family unit or because the child’s mother is/was unmarried. It is, in my opinion, completely presumptuous to insinuate that children are more likely to suffer a poor childhood experience because of a lack of one parent, or because the parents were never married and are no longer in a relationship. What if that parent is in jail for murder or drugs? What if the parent is mentally unstable beyond the realms of professional help? You’re telling me that it’s better to have a completely dysfunctional parent in a two-parent family than it is to have one, relatively stable caretaker? I don’t buy it. When I worked for children’s services, the majority of problems in broken families were substance abuse and/or physical abuse, which was sometimes triggered by the former. I’m sure, despite the fact that I’ve been out of that profession for a few years, that it hasn’t changed entirely too much. It’s not 1824, where a woman would be branded with the scarlet letter for having a child out of wedlock and (gasp) making a go of raising said child on her (or his) own.
Did they count gay men or lesbians who have children in this study? Because in most states, as we unfortunately know, same-sex marriage is not legal. They’re obviously unmarried. I have a few friends who are single lesbians and they either adopted a child or had one implanted and guess what. They’re some of the most stable, loving home environments I’ve ever witnessed.
Kelly Musick — you, my friend — have received the Asshat of the Day Award. Kudos on your biased assumptions and narrow-minded generalizations.
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