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By the Numbers – Children Born to Single Mothers

Recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Heritage Foundation on the scope and economic impact of childbirth by single mothers highlight the economic impact of the absence of husbands and fathers, which is also a strong contributing factor to failure in school, crime, drug abuse, emotional disturbance, and a host of other social problems.

The disappearance of marriage in low-income communities is the predominant cause of child poverty in the U.S. today. If poor single mothers were married to the fathers of their children, two-thirds of them would not be poor. The absence of a husband and father from the home also is a strong contributing factor to failure in school, crime, drug abuse, emotional disturbance, and a host of other social problems.

Understanding Illegitimacy, Heritage Foundation, April 12, 2010

Number of children born to unwed mothers in 2008:

  • 1.72 million

Number of children born to unwed teenage mothers in 2008:

  • 130,000

Change in percentage of children born to unwed mothers since 1963:

  • +580%

Average government benefits to single mothers for each dollar of taxes paid:

  • $3

Annual taxpayer cost for means-tested welfare to single mothers:

  • $300 billion

Sources: Centers for Disease Control, Heritage Foundation.

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