Black Women's Empowerment

The Emerging Elite: Parenting Disparity Grows as Single Parent Households Rise


Are hovering parents who control every part of their children’s schedule creating more successful adults when compared to the “free range” parenting style parents with less resources are often forced to enact? According to a new study from Pew Research, the elite, two-partent family that can afford to put their kids in cotillion have the edge, at least when it comes to navigating in institutions like universities and corporations.

A new Pew Research Center survey conducted Sept. 15-Oct. 13, 2015, among 1,807 U.S. parents with children younger than 18 finds that for lower-income parents, financial instability can limit their children’s access to a safe environment and to the kinds of enrichment activities that affluent parents may take for granted. For example, higher-income parents are nearly twice as likely as lower-income parents to rate their neighborhood as an “excellent” or “very good” place to raise kids (78% vs. 42%). On the flip side, a third of parents with annual family incomes less than $30,000 say that their neighborhood is only a “fair” or “poor” place to raise kids; just 7% of parents with incomes in excess of $75,000 give their neighborhood similarly low ratings.

Single Mothers, Again, Have it the Worst

And if you think that the rise in single-parent households isn’t contributing to the growing disparity of ill-prepared offspring who have trouble navigating the “secret language” of etiquette, social mores and circles of the people most influential to their success, then we’re kidding ourselves. An educated, two-parent household will soon be the premium of all units, with the most resources, clout and influence to carry on those benefits to their children.

The dramatic changes that have taken place in family living arrangements have no doubt contributed to the growing share of children living at the economic margins. In 2014, 62% of children younger than 18 lived in a household with two married parents – a historic low, according to a new Pew Research Center analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau. The share of U.S. kids living with only one parent stood at 26% in 2014. And the share in households with two parents who are living together but not married (7%) has risen steadily in recent years.1

These patterns differ sharply across racial and ethnic groups. Large majorities of white (72%) and Asian-American (82%) children are living with two married parents, as are 55% of Hispanic children. By contrast only 31% of black children are living with two married parents, while more than half (54%) are living in a single-parent household.

The economic outcomes for these different types of families vary dramatically. In 2014, 31% of children living in single-parent households were living below the poverty line, as were 21% of children living with two cohabiting parents.2 By contrast, only one-in-ten children living with two married parents were in this circumstance. In fact, more than half (57%) of those living with married parents were in households with incomes at least 200% above the poverty line, compared with just 21% of those living in single-parent households.

This is why I go hard and continue to nag, preach and teach about No Wedding No Womb. We have people in our community trying their damnedest to nullify the impact that fractured families have on children and the emotional toll it has on black girls and women–not to mention the anger and misogyny it breeds in the boys. Yet, I continue to keep seeing unfortunate posts like this on my timeline.

My name is Brooklyn I am 17 and this is my ex boyfriend and 19. We met in 2014 when I was 15. It was an instant attraction and we were together 1 year and 3 months before we ended splitting up. I am 5 months pregnant now. I conceived in late July. We found out in September, at first he seemed happy and okay with it. We ended up telling our parents October. My dad was very disappointed and wanted me to get an abortion and it was either an abortion or leave and I couldn’t bring myself to do that so I left. My mom always said if i got pregnant im on my own…She said I should consider adoption and that wasnt even an option for me in my mind. I went to go live with Ray and his parents and things just went south. So I moved out and went to go live with my Uncle and his family. After moving I found out he was cheating on me while we were together and he has been with her since. He started denying my daughter was even his saying things like ” I’m not a dad so stop asking” on social networks and what not. This was extremely recent and found this out in the last week. I got extremely depressed and cried for days. I just couldnt believe after all we been through he done that too me. I started to think Mia Bella (my daughter) was a mistake. I prayed and just got out of church today and realized my dauaghter is a blessing not a curse. I have finally sucked it up but cry some moments because I feel as though Mia Bella wont have a father in her life. I really could use prayer and strength in having to go through this as a not only a single but young mom.

The writer is a gorgeous biracial girl (like Instagram gorgeous), and the father is black. Yet folks were streaming in cooing to the commenter about how “It’s all gonna be okay; babies are a blessing, blah blah blah.” NO! Babies are NOT always a blessing to the parents. And sometimes, these dudes want to knock down an upwardly mobile, attractive black girl to corrupt her for other men and derail her future. Let’s be real.

I wonder how all my detractors back in 2010–the ones who called me a bitch and a cunt–feel now that everything we predicted is playing out in real time? Hmmm…they’ve gotten awfully quiet, haven’t they?


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