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The Heritage Foundation
Leadership for America

Our Vision

Building an America where freedom, opportunity, prosperity, and civil society flourish.

About The Heritage Foundation

Founded in 1973, The Heritage Foundation is a research and educational institution—a think tank—whose mission is to formulate and promote conservative public policies based on the principles of free enterprise, limited government, individual freedom, traditional American values, and a strong national defense. We believe the principles and ideas of the American Founding are worth conserving and renewing. As policy entrepreneurs, we believe the most effective solutions are consistent with those ideas and principles.

Facts on Marriage and Family

  • Nearly four out of ten children overall and seven out of ten black children are born to unmarried women. These children are seven times more likely to experience poverty than those born and raised in a home with their married parents. (The Heritage Foundation)
  • Roughly 80 percent of all long-term poverty occurs in single-parent homes. (The Heritage Foundation)
  • Children who grow up without married parents are more likely to experience a wide range of challenges, including unwed birth, domestic violence, and drug and alcohol use. Studies have shown that many aspects of well-being―including physical and mental health and educational performance―correlate with growing up in a home with married parents. (The Heritage Foundation)
  • If family structures remained what they were in 1960, today, researcher Paul R. Amato estimates there would likely be:
    • 525,857 fewer adolescents committing violence
    • 71,413 fewer adolescents attempting suicide
    • 1,207,523 fewer adolescents being suspended from school
  • From 1965 to 1995, the unwed birth rate quadrupled, from under 8 percent to 32 percent. (National Vital Statistics Report 2000)
  • Divorce and unwed childbearing costs U.S. taxpayers $112 billion each year. (The Taxpayer Cost of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing)
  • Just over half of high-school seniors say that having a child without being married is experimenting with a worthwhile lifestyle or does not affect anyone else. (The National Marriage Project)