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By the Numbers – Children Born to Single Mothers

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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April 2010
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