Demography

, Volume 42, Issue 1, pp 75–90 | Cite as

Understanding racial differences in the economic costs of growing up in a single-parent family

  • Marianne E. Page
  • Ann Huff Stevens
Article

Abstract

This article examines whether the economic consequences of growing up in a single-parent family differ for black children and white children. It is important to understand whether the costs differ across racial groups because although much of the rhetoric about poor single-parent families focuses on inner-city blacks, most children who live in such families are white. If the costs of living with only one parent vary across groups, then policies that are aimed at reducing the costs that do not acknowledge this variation will not target resources efficiently. We found that the economic costs of living with a single parent are larger for black children than for white children. Most of the discrepancy can be attributed to differences in remarriage rates, marital stability, welfare participation, and female labor supply.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Bane, M.J. and R.S. Weiss. 1980. “Alone Together: The World of Single-Parent Families.” American Demographics 48(2):11–14.Google Scholar
  2. Bennett, N.G., D.E. Bloom, and P.H. Craig. 1989. “The Divergence of Black and White Marriage Patterns.” American Journal of Sociology 95:692–722.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bulcroft, R.A. and K.A. Bulcroft. 1993. “Race Differences in Attitudinal and Motivational Factors in the Decision to Marry.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 53:338–55.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Butrica, B. 1998. “The Economics of the Family From a Dynamic Perspective.” Doctoral dissertation. Department of Economics, Syracuse University.Google Scholar
  5. Charles, K.K. and M. Stephens, Jr. 2004. “Job Displacement, Disability and Divorce.” Journal of Labor Economics 22:489–522.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Duncan, G.J. and S.D. Hoffman. 1985a. “Economic Consequences of Marital Instability.” Pp. 427–67 in Horizontal Equity, Uncertainty and Economic Well-Being, edited by M. David and T. Smeeding. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  7. ——. 1985b. “A Reconsideration of the Economic Consequences of Marital Dissolution.” Demography 22:485–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Eggebeen, D.J. and D.T. Lichter. 1991. “Race, Family Structure, and Changing Poverty Among American Children.” American Sociological Review 56:801–17.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Fields, J. 2003. “Children’s Living Arrangements and Characteristics: March 2002.” Current Population Reports, Series P-20, No. 547. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.Google Scholar
  10. Fitzgerald, J., P. Gottschalk, and R. Moffitt. 1997. “An Analysis of the Impact of Sample Attrition on the Second Generation of Respondents in the Michigan Panel Study of Income Dynamics.” Unpublished manuscript. Department of Economics, Johns Hopkins University.Google Scholar
  11. Heckman, J., R. LaLonde, and J. Smith. 1999. “The Economics and Econometrics of Active Labor Market Programs.” Pp. 1865–2085 in Handbook of Labor Economics (Volume 3A), edited by O.C. Ashenfelter and D. Card. Amsterdam: Elsevier Science.Google Scholar
  12. Holden, K. and P.J. Smock. 1991. “The Economic Costs of Marital Dissolution: Why Do Women Bear a Disproportionate Cost?” Annual Review of Sociology 17:51–78.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Lichter, D.T. and D.J. Eggebeen. 1993. “Rich Kids, Poor Kids: Changing Income Inequality Among American Children.” Social Forces 71:761–80.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. McLanahan, S. and G. Sandefur. 1994. Growing Up With a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  15. Moynihan, D.P. 1965. The Negro Family: The Case for National Action. Washington, DC: Office of Policy Planning and Research, U.S. Department of Labor.Google Scholar
  16. Murray, C. 1984. Losing Ground: American Social Policy 1950-1980. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  17. Neal, D. 2001. “The Economics of Family Structure.” Working Paper No. 8519. National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  18. —. 2002. “The Measured Black-White Wage Gap Among Women Is Too Small.” Working Paper No. 9133. National Bureau of Economic Research, Cambridge, MA.Google Scholar
  19. Page, M.E. and A. Huff Stevens. 2004. “The Economic Consequences of Absent Parents.” Journal of Human Resources 39(1):80–107.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Peterson, R.R. 1989. Women, Work and Divorce. Albany: State University of New York Press.Google Scholar
  21. Smock, P., W. Manning, and S. Gupta. 1999. “The Effect of Marriage and Divorce on Women’s Economic Well-being.” American Sociological Review 64:794–812.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Stirling, K. 1989. “Women Who Remain Divorced: The Long-Term Economic Consequences.” Social Science Quarterly 70:549–61.Google Scholar
  23. U.S. Census Bureau. 1999. “Child Support for Custodial Mothers and Fathers: 1995.” Current Population Reports, Series P-60, No. 196. Washington, DC: U.S. Census Bureau.Google Scholar
  24. Weiss, R.S. 1984. “The Impact of Marital Dissolution on Income and Consumption of Single-Parent Households.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 46:115–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Wilson, W.J. 1987. The Truly Disadvantaged. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  26. Wilson, W.J. and K.M. Neckerman. 1986. “Poverty and Family Structure: The Widening Gap Between Evidence and Public Policy Issues.” Pp. 232–59 in Fighting Poverty: What Works and What Doesn’t, edited by S.H. Danziger and D.H. Weinberg. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Wood, R.G. 1995. “Marriage Rates and Marriageable Men: A Test of the Wilson Hypothesis.” The Journal of Human Resources 30:163–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Population Association of America 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marianne E. Page
    • 1
  • Ann Huff Stevens
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversity of CaliforniaDavis

Personalised recommendations