Sunday, December 21, 2014

necropolitics: hypersegregation concentrates and normalizes social pathologies


physorg |  In the past five decades, the meaning of single motherhood has changed dramatically, McLanahan and Jencks write. Single mothers today are far less likely than their predecessors to have ever been married. Now, single motherhood usually occurs earlier in a child's life, or even at the very beginning. It is not uncommon for women to be single when their first child is born. Also, the high rate of partner turnover during a mother's peak fertility years means that children now experience multiple men entering and exiting their lives.

"Both the departure of a father and the arrival of a mother's new partner disrupt family routines and are stressful for most children, regardless of whether the father was married to the mother or just living with her," said McLanahan, director of the Bendheim-Thoman Center for Research on Child Wellbeing at Princeton's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. "Likewise, this shift to never-married motherhood has probably weakened the economic and emotional ties between children and their absent fathers."

Another change is that unmarried motherhood has spread fastest among mothers who have not completed college. For blacks, the number of children living with a mother who lacks a high school diploma has increased from 56 percent in 1980 to 66 percent in 2010. For whites, the percentage of children whose mothers lack a degree has remained essentially unchanged, hovering at around 18 percent between 1980 and 2010.

The official poverty rate in 2013 among all families with children was 40 percent if the family was headed by an unmarried mother and only 8 percent if the family was headed by a married couple. Among blacks, the rates were 46 percent in single-mother families and 12 percent in married-parent families. Among Hispanics, the figures were 47 percent and 18 percent, and among whites the rates were 32 percent and 4 percent, respectively.