Tag Archives: single parents

Poverty in America after 20 years of welfare reform


Source: Did Welfare Reform Increase Extreme Poverty in the United States?


Source: Did Welfare Reform Increase Extreme Poverty in the United States?


Poverty Has Declined a Lot Over the Past 30 Years in the USA


Source: Poverty Has Declined a Lot Over the Past 30 Years | Mother Jones from Poverty After Welfare Reform | Manhattan Institute.

Child poverty in single parent and two-parent households in New Zealand

Looks like the greed of the top 1% was targeted exclusively as single parents since the 1980s. Child poverty in two-parent families has not risen much at all. These households often have jobs and will presumably be under the jackboot of neoliberalism stripping away their bargaining power through the decimation of unions and the introduction of the Employment Contracts Act. Despite these horrors, family poverty did not increase much if there are two parents in the house.


Source: Bryan Perry, Household Incomes in New Zealand: trends in indicators of inequality and hardship 1982 to 2014 – Ministry of Social Development, Wellington (August 2015), Table H.4.

Bryan Caplan argues that there is an undeserving poor if they fail to follow the following reasonable steps to avoid poverty and hardship:

  1. Work full-time, even if the best job you can find isn’t fun;
  2. Spend your money on food and shelter before cigarettes and cable TV; and
  3. Use contraception if you can’t afford a child.

Generation Unbound – The drift into parenthood without marriage

Over half of all births to young adults in the United States now occur outside of marriage, and many are unplanned. The result is increased poverty and inequality for children. The left argues for more social support for unmarried parents; the right argues for a return to traditional marriage. In Generation Unbound, Isabel V. Sawhill offers a third approach: change “drifters” into “planners.”

Source: Generation Unbound | Brookings Institution

Child poverty, @jacindaardern and what higher wages cannot buy

The Left thinks the solution to poverty is giving the poor more money because poverty is caused by the poor not having enough money.

Labour MP Jacinda Ardern introduced the exception in an op-ed in the Sunday Star Times. People are poor because they do not have enough money unless that is because of a lack of money because you are not married or not living with the father of the child.

Ardern was raging against a report by Lindsey Mitchell arguing that a major driver of child poverty is the breakdown of the family and the rise of single parent households. Ardern said that

I’ve spent the better part of six years reading and researching the issue of child poverty, and what we need to do to resolve this complex problem in New Zealand.

And yet here it was, the silver bullet we have all been looking for. Marriage. Getting hitched. Tying the knot. It turns out that we didn’t need an Expert Advisory Group on child poverty, or any OECD analysis for that matter – apparently all we really need is a pastor and a party

Ardern preferred to attribute the increase in child poverty to welfare benefit cuts in the early 1990s.

There is an exception within this exception for the living wage as Ardern says 

But the other factors Family First was so quick to dismiss – low wages and staggering housing costs – mean we have 305,000 children in poverty. And this is the stuff that needs to change. It’s time we faced reality.

A living wage increase can solved family poverty. Actually getting a job and earning a wage does not reduce poverty among single-parent households but living wage increases do for families.


Source: Jacinda Ardern: Govt must improve the lot of our children – National – NZ Herald News.

You cannot have it both ways. That low wages cause family poverty but no wages does not.

The best solution to child poverty is to move their parents into a job. Simon Chapple is quite clear in his book last year with Jonathan Boston that.

Sustained full-time employment of sole parents and the fulltime and part-time employment of two parents, even at low wages, are sufficient to pull the majority of children above most poverty lines, given the various existing tax credits and family supports.

Implicit tax on a lone parent returning to a low-paid job in the USA, UK, Denmark, France, Germany, Canada, Australia and New Zealand


Source: Economic Policy Reforms: Going for Growth – OECD (2016).

Ratio of unemployment and single parents benefit to the New Zealand net average wage since 1970


Source: OECD Economic Survey New Zealand 2015.

Ethnicity of people receiving Sole Parent Support in NZ

More evidence from the @economicpolicy institute of the great success of the 1996 US federal welfare reforms

1996 US welfare reforms & single mother employment rates @garethmorgannz @geoffsimmonz


Source: Ron Haskins (2015).

Poverty Rates by Mothers’ Marital Status, 1987 to 2013


Source: Congressional Research Service.https://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R41917.pdf

What is the success sequence?


Source: The success sequence: Conservatives think they have a formula for raising people out of poverty.


Teen smoking rates in one and two parent households in USA, UK, Canada, Germany, France, Italy and Scandinavia

Not only do smoking rates differ greatly across the Atlantic and the English Channel, the influence of a single parent household seems to be large in the Anglo-Saxon countries but much less important elsewhere.


Source: OECD Family Database.