A comprehensive survey of U.S. Census data finds that the nuclear American family, where both biological parents are at home, is in meltdown, with blacks teens being hit especially hard with less than 2-in-10 15-17-year-olds living with mom and dad.
The survey from the Family Research Council’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute released Thursday also shows a depressing historical roadmap of the breakup of traditional families, a trend the group fears will continue unless marriage “until death do us part” is revived.
Key highlights from the “Fifth Annual Index of Family Belonging and Rejection” provided in advance to Secrets:
— 46 percent of teens 15-17 have grown up with the biological parents, an all-time low from a high of 63 percent in 1950.
— Just 17 percent of black teens live with their nuclear family, another all-time low and down from 38 percent in 1950.
— 54 percent of white kids aged 15-17 grew up with their biological family intact, a low point and down from 67 percent in 1950.
“The American family is in a crisis,” said the survey. It was accompanied by a more detailed report on the crisis in Africa American families.
￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Author Pat Fagan, director and senior fellow at MARRI, and former deputy assistant Secretary for Family and Social Policy at the Department of Health and Human Services, said traditional marriage is in trouble, and without it, kids are deprived.
“During the last century, many worked to change this by severing sexual intercourse and the begetting of children from marriage. This social experiment has failed," he said.
FRC Senior Fellow Bishop E.W. Jackson, addressing the situation with black teens, said, “The crisis, one related directly to marriage and the role of the church, has social and moral dimensions which have created an accelerating downward spiral — children raising children; young men looking for affirmation of manhood through gangs, violence and fathering children without taking responsibility for them.”
Jackson added that churches need to step up and help: “The black church, still a major influence in the lives of many, has failed to address this downward spiral.”
The fifth annual survey also charted when families appear to break up, typically over time and as their children get older. For example, 75 percent of white two-year-olds in 2012 lived with their biological parents, but by age 17, that was down to 52 percent.
For blacks, the survey of Census data showed that black kids typically start out in broken homes, with just 30 percent of black two-year-olds living with their parents, dropping to 17 percent at age 17.Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.