America’s five-decade war on poverty has made quite clear which social ill is most closely tied to child poverty. Yet, we haven’t taken the first shot at it. Fortunately, some Georgians are finally ready to take the fight where it needs to go.
I’m talking about the breakdown of the two-parent family and births out of wedlock. No other social factor comes closer to explaining why some people are poor and others aren’t.
Not education: In Georgia, the child of two married high school dropouts is less likely to be poor than the child of a single mother who has taken some college classes. More striking, a single mother with a college degree is more likely to live in poverty than are two married high school grads with a child.
Education matters. It’s just not the most important factor when it comes to child poverty.
Nor is race or ethnicity: Poverty rates are higher in Georgia for blacks and Hispanics than for whites. However, a white single parent is almost four times more likely