JLF Triangle Blog

Durham’s single-parent problem

The Washington Times has plotted Census tracts showing where the highest percentage of single-parent families live, as well as those where the most two-parent families reside. Durham fares depressingly poorly in both (See map below).

Picture 1

Red and orange depict areas with the highest proportion of single-parent families. Green denotes Census tracts with 9 of 10 families having both parents living in the home. Note that there are NO Census tracts in Durham north of I-40 that are green. None.

Here’s a wider view of the Triangle area:

Picture 2

Calling this a “single-parent family” problem is just a euphemism. It’s actually an illegitimacy problem that has gotten worse in this country for about 40 years, especially in black communities, mainly due to a devaluation of the institution of marriage and wrong-headed government welfare policies that place disincentives on families staying together.

All the resultant bad consequences to society don’t need to be rehashed here. Just suffice it to say that almost every social problem we have can be brought back to illegitimacy or the abandonment of families by irresponsible fathers.

If the world were not turned upside down, the NAACP and every other liberal group in the country would be placing this issue front and center on the American agenda. It’s been documented that one of the best ways to stay out of poverty is to wait until you’re 21 to get married, and to not have any children until you are married. Do otherwise and you have generational poverty, where people live in public housing for decades instead of only until they get on their feet.

One look at the skyrocketing welfare costs that face the nation, states, counties and cities will show that they coincide with the rise in illegitimacy and the efforts from the left to devalue marriage. If we really care about people, we’ll try to change this situation, not just assume it’s the best we can do.

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