WASHINGTON (Reuter) - The number of children living with parents who have never been married has exploded in the past 35 years, from fewer than one in 200 to nearly one in 10, a congressional committee reported Tuesday.
That fact was one of many in the 1996 House Ways and Means Committee annual ``Green Book,'' a 1,441-page annual compilation of charts, tables and text that gives a social picture of the country and federal social programs. The huge book pulls together a wide number of statistics, many released earlier as isolated numbers.
The book reported that children living with never-married parents increased from 0.4 percent of all children in 1960 to 9.3 percent of all children in 1995.
In a related statistic, the book says that between 1980 and 1995 the number of unmarried white women in their 20s and 30s who gave birth increased dramatically -- far more quickly than the rates among other women, either white or black.
The book also reports that government programs have been effective in blunting some of the worst effects of poverty.
For example, government food, tax and housing benefits prevented the bottom fifth of Americans from dropping as deeply into poverty as they would have otherwise, figures gathered between 1989 and 1994 showed.
With government help, these families lost 4.7 percentage points in income, less than half of the 11 percent they would have lost otherwise. But either way they wound up in poverty, the report said.
In fact, the report showed that government cash aid has been dropping for the poorest Americans when inflation is taken into account.
For example a family of four with no income received $221 in Aid to Families with Dependent Children in 1970 and $435 in 1995. Once inflation is taken into account, that represents a drop in spending power of roughly half, the book said.
Article from Mercury Online service, 06:55 PM ET 11/19/96
Please email suggestions on improvements to this site to
This web site maintained and copyrighted ©1996-2002 by Will Doherty. Last modified on 16 May 2002.