Dustin Siggins

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Family brokenness greater in religious South than Northeast: report

Dustin Siggins

WASHINGTON, D.C., February 12, 2014 (LifeSiteNews.com) – While socially conservative Americans often look with disdain on the Northeast for its lack of religious foundation, a new report from the Family Research Council suggests the Northeast has done the best job of keeping families intact.

In its fourth annual “Index of Family Belonging and Rejection,” the Family Research Council (FRC) examined the number of 15-to 17-year olds who “were raised with both their biological parents married to one another (belonging to each other) since before or around the time of their birth.” The index found that only 46 percent of these American youths were raised in this ideal environment in 2013.

While the index's range among the four regions in the nation was small – between 42 percent and 50 percent – it was the more religious South that saw a 42 percent ranking in the Index. The Northeast, which consistently ranks among the highest regions with regards to atheism, saw a 50 percent rate of family togetherness. The worst states were Mississippi and Louisiana, at 32 percent and 36 percent, respectively, and the District of Columbia was given a 17 percent.

Mormon-dominant Utah, as well as Minnesota and Nebraska, saw index ratings of 57 percent, 56 percent, and 55 percent, respectively. Sixty-five percent of Asian children 15 to 17 years old were raised by married parents, while only 17 percent of black children were in the same familial circumstances.

Report co-author and Marriage and Religion Research Institute Director Dr. Pat Fagan said that while “marriage held its own last year ... more than half the children of the nation have parents” who “did not love each other through thick and thin.” The 2013 Index showed that family intactness was the single biggest factor in preventing teenage pregnancy, and is of high importance with regards to getting children a high school degree.

The index, according to Fagan, shows that “there is no more important factor in determining outcomes in a host of government focused” welfare programs, such as subsidies for housing and food, and education. “Family intactness is as important in determining an area's employment rate among men as is the fraction of its adults that have completed high school.”

Noting that “marriage is society's foundational relationship,” Fagan said the “central challenge” for the nation is “to make miracles” by “belong[ing] to another even if our parents didn't.”

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