Report: More than half of all births in NM occur outside of marriage
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Out-of-wedlock births have grown exponentially in the US (increasing more than eight-fold since 1930 and doubling since 1980) but New Mexico has the second-highest percentage of babies born outside of marriage in the country — 52.3 percent.
And a recent study done by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think-tank based in Washington DC, contends New Mexico state agencies should provide more information to at-risk youths about the value of marriage as a means to reduce poverty.
The charts included in the report called “Marriage: New Mexico’s No. 1 Weapon Against Childhood Poverty” are startling. Here are three:
Another interesting statistic is that while most of us associate out-of-wedlock births with teenagers, only 9.7 percent of the births outside of marriage in New Mexico occur to those under 18. By far, the largest segment comes from women between the ages of 20-24 (37.8 percent).
In a draft, Robert Rector, a senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation, says, “Policy makers clearly recognize that education reduces poverty, but they are largely unaware that marriage is an equally strong anti-poverty weapon.”
The report calls for creating public education campaigns — especially in low-income areas — on the benefits of marriage, reduce anti-marriage penalites in means-tested welfare programs and promote programs to increase healthy marriages and reduce divorce and separation.
The foundation said a formal paper on New Mexico will be released before September 12.
In the meantime, here are the charts from the 16-page presentation: