What a sad sign of the times we live in.
Intact families with a mother and a father are becoming so rare that “a dad” numbers 10th on UK children’s Christmas wish list, ahead of the latest electronic gadget or toy.
Hannah Furness reports for The Telegraph, Dec. 24, 2012, that a survey of 2,000 British parents found that the 10th most popular Christmas wish of children aged 3 to 12 years is a “Dad”.
Top of their wish list is a new baby brother or sister, followed by a real-life reindeer, a pet horse, and a car. Snow at Christmas is in 9th place. Request for a “mum” (mother) is 23rd.
Other wishes are a house, a dog, chocolate, a stick of rock (?), iPhones and iPads. Of the top 50 festive requests, 17 related to pets and animals, with some imaginative children hoping for a donkey, chicken and elephant.
The UK has 2 million single-parent families — the highest proportion of children brought up in one-parent families of any major European country. Single-parent families are now so common in Britain that couples living with their children are the minority in some parts of the country.
The United States fares no better.
In the United States, the number of children in single-parent families has risen dramatically over the past four decades. According to Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2007, released by the U.S. Census Bureau in November, 2009, there are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the United States today, and those parents are responsible for raising 21.8 million children (approximately 26% of children under 21).
And the typical U.S. single parent is a mother. 84% of single-parent households in America are single-mother households, in contrast to 16% being single-father households..
Mark Mather of the Population Reference Bureau draws attention to researchers having identified the rise in single-parent families (especially mother-child families) as a major factor driving the long-term increase in child poverty in the United States. The effects of growing up in single-parent households, the majority of which are single-mother households, have been shown to go beyond economics, increasing the risk of children dropping out of school, disconnecting from the labor force, and becoming teen parents. Although many children growing up in single-parent families succeed, others will face significant challenges in making the transition to adulthood. Children in lower-income, single-parent families face the most significant barriers to success in school and the work force.
The plain truth is that marriage of a man to a woman is good for the couple, their children, and for society.
Jason DeParle reports for the New York Times that about 41% of births in the United States now occur outside marriage, up sharply from 17% three decades ago. But there’s a class-education divide: Child Trends, a Washington research group, found that less than 10% of the births to college-educated women occur outside marriage, while for women with high school degrees or less the figure is nearly 60%.
“It is the privileged Americans who are marrying, and marrying helps them stay privileged,” said Andrew Cherlin, a sociologist at Johns Hopkins University.