This paper is aimed at studying an economically marginalized group in United States of America. The chosen group for this paper consists of single mothers living under the poverty line in US. The paper starts with identifying the group including approximate number of people in the group. The problem defined in this paper is regarding large number of single mothers living under the poverty line. The causes of problem are identified in this paper along with proposing short term and long term solutions. The short term solution includes initiatives of government in various welfare programs including monetary aid to the group. The long term solution is proposed to be encouraging people through various campaigns and policy making to get married before having children. The paper ends with analyzing the solutions.
Single Mothers in the Poverty
Poverty is an issue regarding lack of money to meet basic necessities. People living under the poverty line face great challenges in living their lives. They have to compromise several needs and settle for below standard things in life. Sometimes, the poor do not have access to clean drinking water or hygienic food. There are several categories of people who are under the poverty line within United States.
There is a large number of mothers in United States who are single or divorced / separated due to which they have to work to fulfill the needs of their children. These mothers have to face great challenges in their workplace as well and due to the need attention and time for their children, they are sometimes given less preference for a job over other people. Such situation brings financial problems for single mothers in America.
The economically marginalized group chosen for this study includes poor single mothers living in United States of America. Today, around 1 in every 4 children under 18 years of age that makes up a total of around 17.5 million, are getting raised by single mothers are around 45% of such mothers live under the poverty line .
Numbers of well tested welfare programs are being operated by Federal Government in order to provide food, finance, medical care, social services and housing facilities to the low income populations and poor people including poor single mothers. The statistics reveals that approximately 450 billion dollars have been issued by the state or federal government on such welfare programs for families and children of low income people.
Out of this welfare package, roughly 330 billion dollars were spent to families of single parent which mostly consisted of single mothers. It is also stated that most of the births of non-marital are paid by taxpayers. For this purpose Medicaid system is being used. Such welfare programs are used continuously in order to assist mothers and the child for the last two decades after the birth of the child .
It is observed that regarding caregiving and jobholding for poor people, United-States have lagged behind as compared to high income countries. In this pretext, the new parents who are employed and entitled for paid leave, just 11% of them enjoyed it in United States in the year 2011. Among 17 comparable countries, United States is the one which has not entitled to pay annual leave, as compared to the peer countries which is four weeks.
All other comparable countries except Canada and United States, also providing sick days pays, on an average of 03 days per annum. Among them ten of the comparable countries providing 5 days of such leave per annum in order to care for the sick child. In United States, if any of the single parent is able for working means that there are definite chances that he or she is putting the child in a situation which is precarious for child care. It is also observed that the nature of job for such parents in United States is low wage as compared to the single parents residing in peer countries.
In this context, the statistics submits that in year 2009, 25% of the jobholders in United States were low waged jog employees as compared to the peer countries which is about 14 percent, and 40% of single parents in United States had low waged employment as compared to the other workers’ groups in US.
Numbers of single mothers are employed with low paid employment in United States reveals that there is lack of health care and income support projects in United States. This obviously states that there is financial insecurity for the single parent employment .
According to a survey, about one out of five is led by a woman who is unmarried as compared to the poor families which is one out of two. One out of three families led by woman who is unmarried is poor as compared to one out of ten of all the families .
Analysis of Problem / Issue
It has also been revealed from the researches that the children who come from the single mother family have experience on average quite low healthy lives as compared to the children who come from complete families.
For example, the children with one parent probably would drop out from the school or bear out wedlock and may be having difficulty keeping the job as adult. Some other main issues may arises in the case of kids of single parents may be related to social behavior, psychological development risks and identification of sex role.
On the other hand, many critics have been identified against the methodologies adopted by the studies carried out to support deviant of structural model of single family. The critics state that different variables like social class and the income would be explaining the portion of negative finding of the research.
For instance, when the variable ‘income’ is deliberated, considerably less variance arise between academic achievement, intellectual development and children’s behavior in the single mother and complete families with both the parents. The income is considered as one important factor for looking up the difference in the children from different family forms.
It has also been observed that the children who belong to the single family headed by the mother are poorer due to many reasons. Because women are less earning capacity compared to man, has insufficient public assistance and less subsidies of child care. Another important reason is the less support to the child from the nonresidential father. If we compare the income of household headed by female and male, it reveals that the income annually is one fourth to that of the complete families .
The Americans’ numbers regarding poverty have remained unchanged as 46.5 million. The number of single mother families has been increased for the last four years about 4.11 million, which means the trend of births’ out of wedlock and marriage, is declining. The mothers of most of the cases are not educated and therefore, many of them are low paid employees. Share of Families of the married couple remained unchanged in poverty at 2.1 million, and in percentage it can be calculated as 8.7 percent.
Hispanic children are estimated as 37% of the total as poor children by ethnicity and race. As for the Whites are concerned, it is estimated 30%, the blacks are 26 percent of the total. In the California, about 2.2 million of the children were declared as poor in the last year. The rate of child poverty was estimated uppermost in Mississippi; one out of three children was the poor. If we compare the percentage of child poverty nationwide, it remained unchanged that is 21.8 percent from previous year.
Washington D.C., among twenty five metropolitan areas, have median income household in year 2012 at USD 88,233. San Francisco and the Boston metro have been followed after Washington D.C. This rate of house income has the lowest rate in Tampa St, Petersburg, which is estimated as USD 44,402. The poverty level calculated by the government is mainly estimated on the basis of income before the deductions .
Short Term Solution
In order to solve the issues of the families facing financial crunch due to low paid income, number of assistance programs have been initiated. The basic objectives of these programs are to assist and offer benefits to the people with low income or below the adequate standard level. United States has also initiated many such programs which includes; Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, block grant, food stamps and cash welfares. Before the commencement of welfare reforms in year 1996, it was estimated that sixty eight out of hundred families with the children in poverty have received some cash assistance. Surprisingly, this rate reduced to only twenty families in the year 2010.
The benefit level in the majority of the states have fallen down below 30% of official line of poverty, hence lower than USD 6,000 for one family out of the three. This rate in the countries for comparison, shows that the benefit is below standard of poverty that is 50% of the median income. The most effective package for single mother families is the SNAP. In this package, approximately 90% of children, who are eligible, participate, much higher than that of the block grant .
Long Term Solution
As for as the long term solution of the problem is concerned, it is suggested that publicity is necessary for advantages of marital births and disadvantages of non-martial births. On the other hand, if it is wished by the society to reduce the non-marital birth’s growth and such pregnancies, then it should be communicated by the government on large scale. It should be communicated that raising or having inside marriage children are much more advantageous than that of raising or having children outside of the marriage. The benefits couple and healthy relationship of a family should be emphasized.
Effective policies should have been formulated by the government having practical skills for making effective plan for birth of children in manner to achieve goals on long term. These policies should have practical knowledge and skills to select the suitable partners, making healthy relationship and building stable environment. It should also be communicated that the role and importance of commitment to sustain healthy marriages are significant.
The Government has to take various measures to address this issue. Apart from formulating various policies regarding strengthening the relationship of the families. In this context, government has to take following specific polices in order to transfer the latest message of pro-marriage and buildup the communities of low income : -
- Campaigns of public advertising should be encouraged regarding significant of marriage targeted to the communities of low income. Such campaigns regarding importance of marriage should be communicated to the society, adults or even children
- The education programs related to marriage should be provided with greater proportion at youth risk in the high schools. It has been observed that the girls with low income desire strongly to have kids. Simultaneously, these girls also intend and wish to prove themselves as good mother. Such young girls are very receptive to the information passed to them, therefore, positive effectives of marriage regarding long term children outcome should be communicated.
- The self-discipline education programs initiated by federal government should be strengthened which offer critical information regarding importance of adult’s marriage, society and children. These programs have all the information pertinent for marriage of youth of low income. This information should have to be communicated and expanded.
- The education regarding voluntary marriage should be made available to the couples who are low paid and belong to low income communities. This can be achieved by increasing the initiative of healthy marriage, which is being initiated by the health and human department of US successfully. By this program, participants are also provided with an opportunity of job training.
- In order to communicate the massage to the target communities, referrals and education material related to marriage should be provided to the related readers. The title of which should be X clinics of birth control. These clinics are operating in every region of United States and offering material either free or on subsidized rates to the adult women with low income ratio per year.
Evaluation of the Solution
The short term solution as provided in this study would address the Catholic teaching of preferential option for the poor whereas the long term solution would address the dignity of the human person.
The married fathers’ effects on the outcomes of a child can be pronounced fairly. For instance, when the families with same parental education and same race are examined and compared to the married families who are intact, the children from the homes of single patent are: -
- The arrested personnel for juvenile crime are more than double
- Two times as treated for behavioral problems
- Two times as expelled or suspended from the school
- More likely dropping out of the school before completing the high school.
The effects continue till the adulthood among the children who grow up in a home of single parent. If the families of similar income and same race are compared, it is evaluated that the children who come from the homes of single parent or broken families are more likely to culminate in jail before attaining the age of thirty as compared to those children who come from intact families.
If the girls of the same married families are compared, it is noticed that the girls from homes of single parents are more likely to give birth a child without having marriage, thus negative cycle for other generation can be repeated. The marriage remained one of the strongest weapons of anti-poverty of America, yet it is declining continuously. On the disappearance of husband from home, the welfare dependence and poverty increases and the parents and children suffer.
The decline of marriages has resulted in enhancement of welfare dependence and child poverty. The poor hopes to have a healthy marriage but due to lack of the understanding, norms and eh skills to get it, they are not able to do so. This is the responsibility of government to initiate bold steps to reinforce marriage. The value of marriage should be articulated by the government in a manner as it discourages children from the drop out of the school.
It should be communicated to the people that government will facilitate and maintain healthy marriages and will be financially supported till they get economically stable after marriage. The marriage is extremely advantageous for society, adults and even for children and needs to be strengthened and encouraged .
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