February 12, 2018 – Family-Breakdown Denialists
Social scientists want more welfare for children from single-parent households.
February 12, 2018
Perhaps, but some questions about the researchers’ definitions are already being raised. The larger point is that welfare policies can’t be understood apart from a country’s historical, cultural, and demographic realities. In recent decades, the United States has seen a large influx of low-skilled immigrants who, while hardworking, often need to rely on government help to pay for food, health care, and bilingual education for their children. The country’s relatively modest social-safety net has (arguably) kept those costs under control. The far more generous welfare policies of Denmark, on the other hand, limit the number of poor immigrants that the country can support. In 2016, the country dramatically restricted immigration, determining it “a serious threat to public order and national security.” Moreover, while Denmark’s generosity provides economic security, it may not lead to upward mobility for children. Immigrant children are considerably less successful in school than native-born children, while the achievement gap between children in single-mother and married-couple homes is higher than in the United States.
“We should stop obsessing over how many single mothers there are and stop shaming them,” Brady and his coauthors conclude. Really, though, we should stop obsessing about Denmark—and stop shaming those worried about the effects of family breakdown on American children and communities.