It is a revolutionary time to be a woman in America, as we not only have the right to vote for our president, but to vote for a female candidate if we choose to do so. These are just a couple examples of the many strides women have made in history, but if you are a woman living in poverty, life in America can still leave much to be desired – especially if you are pregnant or have a child. Women in America are 35 percent more likely than men to live in poverty. Let’s discuss how living in poverty affects women and their children specifically.
2016 Maryland Poverty Profiles of Women and Children
According to the 2016 Maryland Poverty Profiles, brought to you by the Maryland Alliance For the Poor, almost 575,000 Marylanders live below the federal poverty line, which amounts to less than $23,850 per year for a family of four. Additionally, 26.1 percent of female-headed households in Maryland live below that poverty line, as well as 13.2 percent of children. According to the report, families with two children making the median income in Maryland ($74,149) pay, on average, 23.3 percent of that income for childcare per year. That is over $17,000 – proving just how difficult it can be for women living in poverty to stay afloat financially and provide for themselves, much less their children, when you factor in child care and unemployment.
How Broken Households Can Contribute to Teen Pregnancy and Living in Poverty
Did you know a study last year revealed that teenagers from single-parent households are more likely to drop out of school earlier and less likely to attain a bachelor’s degree in comparison to teen from two-parent households? This is important, especially when you factor in that unexpected pregnancies are the leading cause of female dropouts, and that only a reported 16 percent of Baltimore teens are raised with married parents. Take note of the following statistics regarding teen pregnancy and living in poverty:
- According to a Hopkins study, 50 percent of young women in Baltimore have reported a pregnancy
- Teen pregnancies in Baltimore dropped by a third last year, making the rate 43.4 pregnancies per 1,000 female teens
- Three out of ten teenage girls in the U.S. get pregnant at least once before age 20 – resulting in 745,000 teen pregnancies each year
- Children of teen mothers are 50 percent more likely to repeat a grade
- More than 50 percent of teen mothers never graduate from high school, and fewer than two percent earn a college degree by the age of 30
- The daughters of teen mothers are three times more likely to become teen mothers themselves
- The sons of teen mothers are twice as likely to end up incarcerated
- Mothers and children make up over a quarter of the homeless population in Baltimore
Bishop E.W. Jackson, Family Research Council Senior Fellow for Church Ministries and President of S.T.A.N.D, told CNS News that:
There is a profound crisis in the black community, not just in Baltimore, but nationwide –the crisis is in marriage and family. Seventy two percent of children are born out of wedlock. Too many fathers are missing from the home, and an alarming number of mothers are still children themselves…Three and four generations of single parent family life puts in place conditions of poverty, addiction, crime and abuse. Children who grow up in these conditions become hardened and distorted, as the riots made visible. The solution lies in the opposite direction: love and fidelity between fathers and mothers, chastity for the young so that they can be loving and faithful in their turn; prayer and worship to gain the strength to live this love and fidelity and neighborliness to help those around.”
My Brother Keeper’s Commitment to Breaking the Cycle of Poverty
This season, we hope that you will continue to follow our blog as we share important knowledge that we hope will help families understand the importance of breaking the cycle of poverty as it relates to education. We will elaborate on the BEMS Attendance Affirmation Project and other educational resources. Join us in this commitment to better our youth and show them that the education they deserve is within reach with the right resources and support.
To learn more about our youth programs, how to help, or to find out more about our services including hot meal programs, employment assistance, health services and identifying possible emergency shelter, call MBK today at 410-644-3194. You can also follow our official MBK page on Google+, Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, to stay up to date on our center’s progress and upcoming events in the community.