Report: Only 16% of Baltimore Teens Raised With Married Parents

Lauretta Brown | May 7, 2015 | 6:57am EDT
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( – A new report released by the Family Research Council’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) says that only 16 percent of 15- to 17-year-old teens in Baltimore have been raised in an intact, married family.

The report, released Wednesday and compiled in light of the recent Baltimore riots, cites Census Bureau statistics showing that, in terms of family units, Baltimore is “one of the five least intact counties of America,” along with Cuyahoga, Ohio; the Bronx, N.Y.; the District of Columbia; and Shelby County, Tenn.

The report cites studies indicating that children who grow up in intact, married families are least likely to experience poverty during their youth, because married families generally earn higher incomes than stepfamilies, cohabiting families, divorced families, separated families, and single-parent families.

The report says children raised in intact, married families tend to have better educational attainment and achievement than those from non-intact families. They are more likely to achieve higher education after graduating from high school than those from other family structures.

“There is a profound crisis in the black community, not just in Baltimore, but nationwide --the crisis is in marriage and family,” Bishop E. W. Jackson, Family Research Council Senior Fellow for Church Ministries and President of S.T.A.N.D, said in a statement on the study.

“Seventy two percent of children are born out of wedlock. Too many fathers are missing from the home, and an alarming number of mothers are still children themselves. Boys in these circumstances are inculcated with the values of the streets, and become susceptible to every negative influence.” Jackson continued.

“Instead of pursuing education, many embrace the attitude of victimization.  Instead of seeking employment, too many prefer to hustle. Race and poverty become excuses for criminality. These social pathologies are perpetuated from one generation to the next.

“Only God -- not government -- can redeem the situation. Only prayer can move the heart of God. Only Pastors led by God can shepherd people out the darkness into the light of faith, family and responsibility. The church is the only institution with the credibility and spiritual power to transform the lives of the people and communities they serve,” Jackson concluded.

Dr. Pat Fagan, director and senior fellow of MARRI, also released a statement on the report.

“The breakdown of marriage in inner city Baltimore is a tragedy for the city and the state of Maryland.  That this level of public violence happened is not surprising, given all that the data tell us about the family life of the inner city,” he said. 

“Three and four generations of single parent family life puts in place conditions of poverty, addiction, crime and abuse.  Children who grow up in these conditions become hardened and distorted, as the riots made visible.  The solution lies in the opposite direction: love and fidelity between fathers and mothers, chastity for the young so that they can be loving and faithful in their turn; prayer and worship to gain the strength to live this love and fidelity and neighborliness to help those around.” 

“When this happens, educational success follows, and business and jobs flow into communities.  Government can do much good, but it cannot deliver love, fidelity or prayer. Leadership on these must come from other institutions,” Fagan concluded.

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