News from the Tennessee Valley Opinion


Cultural indicators for state disturbing

New statistics about the Alabama family sharply redefine the meaning of that unit.

The family once was a mother and father raising children together. The findings of "Cultural Indicators 2006" author John R. Hill say that the family unit is rapidly becoming a mother and her children. In some cases, the family consists of an unmarried man and woman with children living in an atmosphere that lacks commitment.

The trend is disturbing. More than one-third of the births in Alabama last year were to unmarried women. The trend shows a steep decline in the moral and religious codes about having children. Some 21.7 percent of births to white women were outside marriage while 67.7 percent of births to nonwhites were to unmarried women.

Some critics will blame the change on sex education in schools. Others will say sin is the culprit. Whatever the causes, the rise in single-parent families means more poverty and a greater burden for taxpayers. When compared to married couples with children, female-headed households are more than four times as likely to live in poverty.

The state can't legislate morals but it can do a better job of taking care of the legal aspects of making fathers responsible for financially supporting their children. But to change the trend, society must recover its voice. The trend is wrong and society shouldn't celebrate it, as is so often the case today.

Bringing children into the instability that comes with unmarried parents is flat wrong.

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