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Marriage isn't a magical elixir for poverty, but it does represent a chance at stability for children

When most people think of weddings, something like this may come to mind:



For others, the mere thought of a wedding brings flashbacks to horrible bridesmaids' dresses.



But for children in poverty, a wedding often means a chance at this:


When it comes to poverty, marriage isn't a magic elixir. There are a lot of factors that contribute to it. From insufficient government assistance to low wages for those without a college degree, child poverty continues to be a threat. But, according to W. Bradford Wilcox, an Institute for Family Studies fellow, one of the most influential factors to the growth of child poverty is the changes in family structure, specifically the increasingly number of single-parent homes.


Marriage often represents an increased chance of stability within a household. Children know what to expect when their parents are committed to each other for the long haul. They see their parents working together for the betterment of the family. They both contribute to improve the family's situation. Often, that includes two income sources rather than one. 


Wilcox cites studies that show children in single-mother-headed families are over four times more likely to be poor, compared to children in married-parent families. He continues to state that children living in homes with cohabiting parents do not gain the same benefits as those who are married.


Not only are cohabiting parents less likely to pool their income and put aside money for family savings, they are also much more likely to split up than are married parents. One recent study finds, for instance, that children born to cohabiting parents are almost twice as likely to see their parents break up, compared to children born to married parents, even after controlling for a number of socioeconomic factors. This means that children in cohabiting families are more likely to end up in single-parent families or complex families without both their biological parents, which increases their risk of being in poverty. All this suggests that cohabitation does not protect children from poverty as much as marriage does.”


One way to combat child poverty is to strengthen marriage and the family as a whole. Strengthening the family unit is exactly what Buckner Family Hope Centers do. Buckner operates 26 Family Hope Centers in Texas and six countries. Buckner Family Hope Centers are family-focused places where families go to find hope, support and empowerment in their community. The ministry provides programs designed to engage, equip and elevate families through family coaching, GED, ESL, computer literary, life skills and job trainings.


Through Family Hope Center classes, families learn to better relate to each other and how to navigate conflict. Parents learn strategies for raising their children. Coupled with economic empowerment efforts, families find stability. The family that grows together, thrives together, we've found through our Family Hope Centers.


Child poverty is on the rise and not just one thing will combat it, but strengthening the family unit is a good place to start.



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