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Marriage May Not Help Single Moms Out Of Poverty, Says New Report

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It was long thought that marriage was a solution to poverty, but new research suggests that impoverished single moms may be better off staying single.

In 1996 Congress passed legislation which allowed states to allocate welfare funds to programs encouraging single mothers to marry -- the thought being that a two-income household would result in fewer problems for children raised in those homes down the line.

Now, Kristi Williams, an associate professor of sociology at The Ohio State University, says this program has failed to alleviate the problem. Her research was released Monday by the Council on Contemporary Families as part of their in-depth look at the War on Poverty.

Williams writes, "A nationally representative study of more than 7,000 women found that approximately 64 percent of the single mothers who married were divorced by the time they reached age 35-44. More importantly, single mothers who marry and later divorce are worse off economically than single mothers who never marry."

In the report, Williams says a reason for this has a lot to do with environment, writing, "The pool of potential marriage partners for single mothers in impoverished communities does not include many men with good prospects for becoming stable and helpful partners."

Williams suggests that instead of using resources on marriage promotion, more efforts should be made to convince women to delay childbirth and more education should be provided in order to prevent unwanted pregnancies.

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