Kirsten Andersen

The number of US children living in single-parent homes has nearly doubled in 50 years: Census data

Kirsten Andersen
Kirsten Andersen

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 4, 2013, ( – The number of children living in single-parent homes has nearly doubled since 1960, according to data from the 2010 Census.

The Washington Times analyzed the most recent census data, showing that the percentage of two-parent families has dropped significantly over the past decade in all 50 states. Even as the total number of American households with children increased by 160,000, the number of two-parent households decreased by 1.2 million. 

Today, one-third of American children – a total of 15 million – are being raised without a father. Nearly five million more children live without a mother.

Vincent DiCaro, vice president of the National Fatherhood Initiative, blames this trend for many of society’s ills.  He claims the way to deal with poverty, drugs, crime and other hot-button cultural issues is to strengthen the two-parent family. Deal with absent fathers, he says, and the rest follows.

A growing number of studies show that fatherlessness has a major negative impact on the social and emotional development of children. 

A 2011 University of Melbourne study found that absent fathers were linked with higher rates of juvenile delinquency, while a Canadian study showed that kids whose fathers were active parents in early and middle childhood had fewer behavior problems and higher intellectual abilities as they grew older, even among socio-economically at-risk families.

Children without fathers are much more likely to grow up in poverty. While married couples with children enjoy an average income of $80,000, single mothers average only $24,000.

Though poverty is the primary risk factor for fatherlessness, absenteeism among fathers has also been overwhelmingly a black problem, regardless of poverty status, reports the Times.

The majority of black children nationwide – 54 percent – are being raised by single mothers. Only 12 percent of black families below the poverty line have both parents present, compared with 41 percent of poor Hispanic families and 32 percent of poor white families.

In all but eleven states, most black children do not live with both parents. In every state, 70 percent of white children do. In all but two states, most Hispanic children do.

But the move toward single-parent homes has included every race.  There are now 1,500 neighborhoods in America with substantial white populations where most white households lack fathers, including Curtis Bay in Baltimore, Millcreek outside Salt Lake City, and Vancouver, Wa.  Maine, Vermont and West Virginia are the states with the lowest rates of two-parent households among whites. 

The Washington Times’ analysis of census data showed that even in places where the black population declined, single parenthood is increasing. In South Carolina, where the black share of the population fell by two percent, single parenthood rose by five percent. In Kentucky and Louisiana, where the black population stayed the same, single parenthood increased six percent.

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“Something has to be done about it, and it starts with the culture and reversing the attitude that marriage is not important,” DiCaro told the Times. “[P]resident [Obama] has a role to play in that. He’s a married African-American father who can probably make a huge difference with words alone.”
The Times has produced an interactive map showing the highest and lowest rates of fatherlessness across the country.  It shows the highest concentrations of fatherless households in the inner cities and rural South, with the lowest rates in more affluent, predominately white suburbs. 

You can see the interactive map of areas with the most and least fatherless families here.

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Because nothing says love quite like a whip and restraints, right? Shutterstock
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To the Christians who think 50 Shades is all sorts of awesome: Please, stop and THINK

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By Jonathon van Maren

It’s pretty depressing when you realize that, in 2014, many people seem to think that destruction of human dignity is a small price to pay for an orgasm.

I suppose when I write a column about a book that just sold its 100 millionth copy I shouldn’t be surprised when I get a bit of a kickback. But I have to say—I wasn’t expecting hundreds of commenters, many saying they were Christian, to come out loudly defending the porn novel 50 Shades of Grey, often tastelessly interspersed with details from their own sex lives.

People squawked that we “shouldn’t judge” those who practice bondage, domination, sadism and masochism (BDSM), and informed me that “no one gets hurt” and that it “isn’t abuse” and said that it was “just fantasy” (as if we have a separate brain and body for fantasy).

Meanwhile, not a single commenter addressed one of the main arguments I laid out—that with boys watching violent porn and girls being socialized to accept violence and torture inside of a sexual relationship, we have created a toxic situation in which people very much are being hurt.

In response to the defenders of this trash, let me make just a few points.

  1. Not all consent is equal.

People keep trumpeting this stupid idea that just because someone consents to something or allows something to happen, it isn’t abusive.

But if someone consents to being beaten up, punched, slapped, whipped, called disgusting and degrading names, and have other things done to them that I will choose not to describe here, does that make it any less abusive? It makes it legal (perhaps, but it certainly doesn’t make it any less disgusting or violent.

Would you want your daughter to be in a relationship with Christian Grey? Would you want your son to turn into Christian Grey? If the answer is yes to either of those, someone should call social services.

Anyone who works with victims of domestic and sexual assault will tell you that just because someone permits something to happen or doesn’t extricate themselves from a situation doesn’t mean it isn’t, in fact, abuse. Only when it comes to sex are people starting to make this argument, so that they can cling to their fetishes and justify their turn-ons. Those women who defend the book because they think it spiced up their sex life are being incredibly selfish and negligent, refusing to think about how this book could affect other women in different situations, as well as young and impressionable girls.

In the words of renowned porn researcher and sociologist Dr. Gail Dines:

In his book on batterers, Lundy Bancroft provides a list of potentially dangerous signs to watch out for from boyfriends. Needless to say, Christian [Grey of 50 Shades of Grey] is the poster boy of the list, not only with his jealous, controlling, stalking, sexually sadistic behavior, but his hypersensitivity to what he perceives as any slight against him, his whirlwind romancing of a younger, less powerful woman, and his Jekyll-and-Hyde mood swings. Any one of these is potentially dangerous, but a man who exhibits them all is lethal.

The most likely real-world ending of Fifty Shades of Grey is fifty shades of black and blue. The awful truth in the real world is that women who partner with a Christian Grey often end up hightailing it to a battered women's shelter with traumatized kids in tow. The less fortunate end up in graveyards.

  1. 50 Shades of Grey normalizes intimate partner violence…

…and sickeningly, even portrays it as romantic and erotic. Amy Bonomi, Lauren Altenburger, and Nicole Walton published an article on the impact of 50 Shades last year in the Journal of Women’s Health. Their conclusions are intuitive and horrifying:

While intimate partner violence (IPV) affects 25% of women and impairs health, current societal conditions—including the normalization of abuse in popular culture such as novels, film, and music—create the context to support such violence.

Emotional abuse is present in nearly every interaction, including: stalking (Christian deliberately follows Anastasia and appears in unusual places, uses a phone and computer to track Anastasia’s whereabouts, and delivers expensive gifts); intimidation (Christian uses intimidating verbal and nonverbal behaviors, such as routinely commanding Anastasia to eat and threatening to punish her); and isolation (Christian limits Anastasia’s social contact). Sexual violence is pervasive—including using alcohol to compromise Anastasia’s consent, as well as intimidation (Christian initiates sexual encounters when genuinely angry, dismisses Anastasia’s requests for boundaries, and threatens her). Anastasia experiences reactions typical of abused women, including: constant perceived threat (“my stomach churns from his threats”); altered identity (describes herself as a “pale, haunted ghost”); and stressful managing (engages in behaviors to “keep the peace,” such as withholding information about her social whereabouts to avoid Christian’s anger). Anastasia becomes disempowered and entrapped in the relationship as her behaviors become mechanized in response to Christian’s abuse.

Our analysis identified patterns in Fifty Shades that reflect pervasive intimate partner violence—one of the biggest problems of our time. Further, our analysis adds to a growing body of literature noting dangerous violence standards being perpetuated in popular culture.

  1. Really? Sadism?

I notice that commenters rarely break down what the acronym “BDSM” actually stands for: bondage, domination, sadism, and masochism. If they did, they could no longer make the repulsive claim that “love” or “intimacy” have anything to do with it.

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The definition of sadism is “enjoyment that someone gets from being violent or cruel or from causing pain, especially sexual enjoyment from hurting or punishing someone…a sexual perversion in which gratification is obtained by the infliction of physical or mental pain on others.”

As one of my colleagues noted, we used to send sadists to a therapist or to prison, not to the bedroom. And 100 million copies of this porn novel have been unleashed on our society informing people that getting off on hurting someone is romantic and erotic. It is a brutal irony that people who scream about water-boarding terrorists are watching and experimenting with sexual practices far more brutal. As one porn researcher noted, some online BDSM porn promotes practices and behaviors that would be considered unlawful under the Geneva Convention if they were taking place in a wartime context.

It seems the Sexual Revolutionaries have gone from promoting “safe sex” to “safe words”—just in case the pain gets too rough. And none of them seem to be volunteering information on just how a woman is supposed to employ a safe word with a gag or bondage headgear on.

But who cares, right? Just one more casualty on our culture’s new Sexual Frontier.

  1. “It’s just fiction and fantasy and has no effect on the real world!”

That’s total garbage and they know it. I’ve met multiple girls who were abused like this inside of relationships. Hotels are offering “50 Shades of Grey” packages replete with the helicopter and private suites for the proceedings. According to the New York Post, sales of rope exploded tenfold after the release of the book. Babeland reported that visits to the bondage section of their website spiked 81%, with an almost 30% increase in the sale of things like riding crops and handcuffs.

I could go on, but I won’t. As Babeland co-founder Claire Cavanah noted, “It’s like a juggernaut. You’d be surprised to see how very ordinary these people are who are coming in. The book is just an explosion of permission for them to try something new in the bedroom.”

  1. What does this book and the BDSM movement say about the value of women and girls?

I’d like the defenders of this book to try stop thinking with their nether-regions for just a moment and ask themselves a few simple questions: What does sadism and sexual torture (consensual or not) say to our culture about the value of girls? What does it say to boys about how they should treat girls? The youth of today are inundated with porn and sexually violent material—is nobody—nobody—at all worried about the impact this has on them? On the girls who are being abused by boys who think this is normal behavior—and think it is normal themselves?

Dr. Gail Dines relates that when speaking to groups of women who loved the book, they all grow deathly silent when she asks them two simple questions: Would you want your daughter to be in a relationship with Christian Grey? Would you want your son to turn into Christian Grey?

If the answer is yes to either of those, someone should call social services.


This book and the sadism it promotes are an assault on human dignity, and most of all an assault on the worth and value of girls and women. Please consider the impact you will have on your daughters and the vulnerable and confused people around you when you read and promote this book. Anastasia Steele is, thankfully, a fictional character. But real girls are facing these expectations and demands from a culture that elevates a sexual sadist to the level of a romantic hero. Ask yourselves if you want their “love” and “intimacy” to include sadism and domination, or real respect.

Because you can’t have both.

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Mississippi police confiscated pro-life counselor’s Bible: legal complaint

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By Ben Johnson
Pro-life advocates pray outside Mississippi's last abortion facility in Jackson. Pro-Life Mississippi

Police in Mississippi have engaged in a pattern of harassment and false arrests designed to chill pro-life speech outside that state's last abortion facility, even confiscating and refusing to return a pro-life counselor's Bible, a new legal complaint states.

Lawyers with the Life Legal Defense Fund (LLDF) say the Jackson Police Department has “systematically infringed, and continues to infringe, upon the free speech rights of citizens by unlawfully arresting, citing, and threatening to arrest” sidewalk counselors “for conduct that is protected by the First and Fourteenth Amendments.”

All of the alleged harassment took place outside Jackson Women's Health Organization (JHWO), which recently won an appeal allowing it to remain open despite its inability to obtain admitting privileges at a local hospital.

“For years, dating back to before 1996, JPD has harassed pro-life demonstrators” with “trumped-up charges” designed to “suppress speech,” the lawsuit says. In 2006, the city agreed to a judge's consent decree to give officers annual training on protesters' First Amendment rights.

The new complaint, filed in U.S. district court last Wednesday, says the police have violated that decree for at least five years.

Police have seemingly grasped any pretext to jail pro-life counselors, the complaint states. In 2009, officers arrested two pro-lifers after telling them they must hold their free-standing signs rather than allowing them to rest on the sidewalk.

“There is no statute or ordinance that imposes such a requirement,” the complaint states. The charges were dismissed.

But in 2011 and 2012, after advocates began holding signs to comply with their instructions, officers threatened to arrest them for “disturbing the peace.”

Last December, JPD officers arrested Ester Mann and Ronald Nederhoed for blocking the sidewalk, because they allowed their signs to rest on the ground and sat on small chairs, which LLDF says allowed pedestrians to pass by comfortably.

The City of Jackson's Municipal Court dismissed the charges in February, but lawyers say, “The City still retains possession of Nederhoed's Bible, chair, and small sign.”

At other times, police seemed to need little provocation to threaten arrest. JPD officer Mary James told Mann earlier this month, “I do not like your tone, and if you do not do what I say, I will give you a free ride downtown.”

Yet in a display of blatant bias, “JPD officers allow pro-abortion to stand and sit anywhere along the public sidewalk or right-of-way...without arrest or threat of arrest,” the brief contends.

The lawsuit comes as new video shows police officers using the same tactics on pro-life advocates as recently as two weeks ago. Officers told members of Created Equal they may not place their sandwich board signs on the sidewalk but instead hold them, giving them contradictory instructions along the way. When members said other activists and businesses were not required to comply with these instructions, police said the businesses had a permit to violate a statute LLDF says does not exist.

“I feel like I was transported back 50 years when Freedom Riders were harassed by Jackson police and business owners, as white racists interfered with their right to use interstate commerce," said Mark Harrington, executive director of Created Equal.

Earlier this month, his group released footage of eight Jackson police officers standing by as local business owner Mike Peters removed 18 pro-life signs from the sidewalk, carting them off into his building in plain view.

LLDF's plaintiff in this case, Pro-Life Mississippi, is seeking damages, legal fees, and a permanent injunction against future harassment of all pro-life counselors.

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Toledo’s last abortion center loses license, scrambles to partner with hospital

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By Ben Johnson

Nearly a year after it last complied with a state law requiring abortionists to have admitting privileges at a local hospital, the only abortion facility in Toledo may finally be closing its doors for good.

Lance Himes, interim director of the Ohio Department of Health, signed an order on Tuesday “refusing to renew and revoking”the license of the Capital Care Network (CCN).

The city's last abortion facility has been unable to find a local hospital to grant admitting privileges, as required by a state law signed by Republican Gov. John Kasich.

CCN last had such an arrangement with the University of Toledo Medical Center, but that expired last July 31 thanks to another provision of the same law that forbade public hospitals from granting admitting privileges to abortionists.

“For over a year they’ve operated without a transfer agreement, and that’s illegal,” Ohio Right to Life President Mike Gonidakis said. “These are serious matters that involve women’s health.”

The facility has 15 days to appeal or seek an injunction. Its legal counsel, Jennifer Branch, says CCN plans to appeal and to ask to continue performing abortions during the appeals process.

CCN owner Terrie Hubbard told the Toledo Blade she intends to seek new hospitals willing to enter into an arrangement with its practitioners. “Maybe now a hospital will have a little more empathy, now that they know we will have to close and there won’t be a clinic for women in Toledo,” she said.

She had previously attempted to use a transfer agreement she struck with the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, roughly 50 miles away, but Ohio officials said the facility did not qualify as a “local” health care facility.

Assistant Attorney General Lyndsay Nash wrote at the time that, “CCN’s operator testified that it would take CCN’s transportation provider approximately an hour to show up at CCN even to begin to transport a patient to this far removed hospital and that the actual transport itself would take another 15 to 20 minutes, if possible, to effect by helicopter.”

“Such a lengthy delay would frustrate the purposes of having a transfer agreement with a local hospital, which is to provide immediate care,” she added.

The state has previously ordered a CCN facility in Cleveland closed. According to NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio, the state is home to nine other abortion offices.

Lakisha Wilson, a 22-year-old black woman, died of a botched abortion at one of those facilities, Preterm in Cleveland, in March.

In May, Democratic National Committee Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz, D-FL, said the state of Ohio “needs a shower” for closing abortion facilities and defunding Planned Parenthood.


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