Despite families being much smaller, parents being older, mothers being better educated and having much higher employment rates, child poverty has risen significantly since the 1960s. In 1961, 95 percent of children were born to married couples; by 2015 the proportion had fallen to 53 percent. For Maori, 72 percent of births were to married parents in 1968; by 2015 the proportion had fallen to just 21 percent.
In 2015, 27 percent of registered births were to cohabiting parents. The risk of parental separation by the time the child is aged five is, however, 4-6 times greater than for married parents.
Cohabiting relationships are becoming less stable over time.
Cohabiting parents are financially poorer than married parents. They form an interim group between married and single parent families.
Single parent families make up 28 percent of all families with dependent children. These families are the poorest in New Zealand.
51% of children in poverty live in single parent families.
Single parents have the lowest home ownership rates and the highest debt ratios.
Children in sole parent families are often exposed to persistent poverty and constrained upward mobility.
Of registered births in 2015, 5% had no recorded father details and a further 15% had fathers living at a different home address to the mother.
Of all babies born in 2015, 17.5% (10,697) were reliant on a main benefit by the end of their birth year, over two thirds on a single parent benefit. Over half had Maori parents/caregivers.
The higher poverty rates for Maori and Pasifika children are reflected in the greater number of sole parent and cohabiting families.
Rapidly changing family structure has contributed significantly to increasing income inequality.
Child poverty is consistently blamed on unemployment, low wages, high housing costs and inadequate social security benefits. Little attention has been given to family structure.
Despite marriage being the best protector against child poverty it has become politically unfashionable – some argue insensitive – to express such a view.
But if there is to be any political will to solve child poverty the issue has to be confronted.
Something that Conservatives have been hammering on for years is the attacks on the family unit by socialists and progressives and the degradation of marriage in particular. Its not all about allowing narcissists using their sexual condition to enter into a farcical imitation of that institution. This doesn’t help, but by far the major contribution is a general disdain for marriage expressed by feminists and other Cultural Marxists.
The message coming out of Hollywood has for years been that marriage is a dead end for women. So called Hollywood stars too slip in and out of marriages like they’re changing their shoes.
Academia has done likewise, accenting professional success as empowering and maternity as degrading to women. Today, they are even promoting marital fidelity among women as a fool’s game.
So all of this has an effect, and some are more effected than others, and this sector is predominantly made up of the less educated and poor among us who have only a superficial understanding of the forces that are shaping them. They are largely unaware of how they are being pushed into poverty and unfulfilling lives by external political forces who do these things for cynical electoral profit.
Lindsay Mitchell’s report tells the truth, and that is the reason it will be buried by a deluge of criticism.
There is no way our cultural watch tower guards will let such effective and candid analysis survive.