Skip to comments.Study Shows US Bible Belt Has Highest Rate of Family Break-Ups; Is it About Faith or Race?
Posted on 02/14/2014 7:58:05 PM PST by SeekAndFind
Family Research Council
A study on family breakup as it effects children on the cusp of adulthood revealed that more children experience family breakup before adulthood in the South, well-known for its religious "Bible belt," according to the Family Research Council.
"The Bible belt is in deep, deep trouble on family," Pat Fagan, director of The Family Research Council's Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI), told The Christian Post in an interview on Thursday. "Those who worship less have more family intactness and those who worship more have less," Fagan marveled.
Bishop Harry R. Jackson Jr, senior pastor of Hope Christian Church and founding president of High Impact Leadership Coalition, explained the nuances of different ethnic groups, most notably the high rates of family dislocation in the black community. "I think black families are experiencing the worst of the social trends, but they are leading in that direction," Jackson declared. "Half of our children do not feel that they are loved and accepted in their families." While the Asian family has the lowest rates of breakup, Jackson argued that they are going the same way.
The Study and Its Results
The Fourth Annual Index of Family Belonging and Rejection, published Wednesday, measures whether or not kids who are about to become adults have experienced a breakup in their family. For those "age 15-17, towards the end of their childhood at home," the study measures "what proportion of children are still in an intact, married family," Fagan explained.
According to the study, only 46 percent of today's youth ages 15 to 17 were raised with both their biological parents married to each other since before or around the time of their birth. The parents of 54 percent of these children have rejected each other.
Regionally, the South, or the Bible belt, has the lowest rate of family belonging (42 percent) and the Northeast has the highest (50 percent). Among states, Utah ranked number one with 57 percent and the District of Columbia ranked dead last with 17, followed by Mississippi at 32 percent and Louisiana at 36 percent.
Asians proved to be the racial group with the most families intact among these kids (65 percent grew up in intact families) and blacks had the least (17 percent).
The Failures of the Church
"Christians are not living out their faith in family in the South," Fagan declared. He explained that the highest churchgoing states in the country are in the south, and normally high church attendance drives people to keep their families intact. But this is not happening. "For the Christian church in the South, something is really going wrong sexually."
According to another study, published last month, divorce rates are higher among conservative Protestants and evangelicals who are strict on sexual morality than among more liberal Christians. Nevertheless, the study's author admitted that "secularism seems to be more conducive towards divorce than conservative Protestantism."
The Black Family
Fagan explained that the lowest rates of family belonging in the nation occurred in the black community – 9 percent among African Americans in the District of Columbia and 7 percent in Milwaukee. "The black family is just in meltdown crisis on family and on marriage," the researcher argued, "and that's what locking them into poverty."
Jackson agreed, tracing the roots of this civil collapse back to President Lyndon Johnson's "War on Poverty," the era of Segregation, and even slavery. "I think that the baggage of the family breakdown worked as a cancer," the black pastor explained. He argued that even in the pre-Civil Rights days, when African American families generally stuck together, they were still under assault.
Jackson traced the "emotional erosion of our African American men regarding their role in family, their value as individuals," through slavery, Jim Crow, and into the 1960s. "When the War on Poverty happened in the sixties, Washington initiatives wound up exacerbating the familial problems of poverty," Jackson claimed. The new relief programs made it acceptable and economically possible for a woman to live on her own and raise a family without a man.
The Asian-American Family
DJ Chuang, a strategy consultant, ideator, connector, and Asian American, explained the cultural ideas behind the strength of the Asian family. "Generally speaking, Asian cultures have very strong values of loyalty, duty, and responsibility to care for their family members," Chuang argued. "These values are culturally reinforced by the societal expectations for staying in marriages, some of which are arranged, and avoiding the social stigma and shame of divorces."
Jackson agreed, and claimed that first generation immigrants from Africa also have a similar dedication to family.
Fagan, however, argued that the problems are still deep, even in the Asian family. "The Asian family now is where the black family was in the sixties when Daniel Patrick Moynihan wrote his book," the researcher explained. Moynihan wrote in order to combat the disintegration of the black family, and now every race is facing the same challenges.
Church Reform As Solution
While Fagan condemned the churches which are failing to keep families together, he called for someone like the Old Testament prophets to denounce this shameful situation. "What would the prophets be doing, what would God be speaking through the prophets, about the abandonment of his law?" the researcher asked.
"Pray for the families in urban America – the church has got to do something," Jackson declared. He argued that the entire church should work to find a solution, and reported that "the black church is alarmed at these problems and is attempting to rise up to solve them."
The pastor announced that he would "dedicate my ministry to turn around the black Christian families to regain the strength they once had."
Sex before marriage makes marriage meaningless.
Fornication is the forgotten sin.
Unfortunately, it clearly cannot be entirely blamed on the minority communities in the Bible belt. There has to be other factors at play here.
I guess they didn’t check the hollywood biblebelt because they don’t have one.
Wrong. It is racial. Likewise with the obesity "studies" that show Mississippi indexing poorly. Take the blacks out of the equation and the Magnolia State is as a healthy a place as they come.
It wouldn’t have anything to do with the fact thar the largest percentage of the black population lives in the bible belt would it. There are very few black families that stay together for the duration of their marriage. Most probably don’t make it past their 2nd year.
Map seems totally bass ackwards: Deepest color (greatest “intactness”) in the blue cities and metro areas, lightest in flyover country.
But all shack job members refer to each other as “fiancé”, I guess that makes it alright.
Most blacks live in the South and skew the polling for others, as black families are in crises. 72% of black babies are born to single women. But all the political energy is spent trying to make the white man confess to being raciest and demanding reparations of one kind or another. They need to work on re-establishing the nuclear black family. They need to look at themselves.
I wonder if this study repeats the fallacy
of many like it:
A divorces are counted but splits between,
say, cohabitating couples is not.
Look at the map in the article-- Los Angeles County is pretty dark blue.
If the bible belt is leading the way in family break ups, it is NOT solely because of the black community. That may be a factor but it is blatantly obvious that this is not the sole factor. Insisting other wise is pure wishful fantasy thinking. I would like to see the actual studies that show that Mississippi is not above the national average in obesity rates if you are only counting whites. A major reason for the high obesity rates in Mississippi and neighboring states is that frankly, Southern cuisine, wonderful as it is, is also fairly well known for being awfully reliant on deep frying stuff and on excessive use of fattening dairy products, which affects Southerners of all races. Anyone whose been to these Southern States will undoubtedly find their share of white as well as blacks folks who are quite husky to put it mildly.
Nope. The study measures what percentage of families with 15-17 year old children have 2 parents who were married for the kids' whole lives. So divorced and never married are treated the same.
I think the main issues are that education is simply on average inferior in the South relative to the rest of the area and that welfare dependency is out of control. And to varying degrees I do believe it affects Southerners of all races, not just one race.
I heard one theory about this problem that I can believe.
They get married young there before they are ready or really know what they are doing, mostly hormones.
I am not Catholic but I always like the idea of requiring classes on marriage before the Church will marry.
And no, 1930 back when my Grandmother got married is not coming back.
I agree. I doubt blacks can skew the averages to such an extent.
Similar to the call for more government when government programs fail, so the church fails to understand that the condemnation of the law is sin's strength (1 Cor 15:56), so they just pour on more old testament condemnation and law.
The answer is the gospel of the grace of God (Acts 20:24) by which we are no longer dominated by sin because we are no longer under the law (Romans 6:14-15). The church must turn from the twice-cursed false gospel of law and works (Galatians 1:7-9) and once again "earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints" (Jude 3).
It is this true gospel that is the power of God to save, heal, and deliver that allows us to "reign in life by one, Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:17).
At least the people who are getting divorced got married in the first place. The WSJ said that in some cities, NYC and Silicon Valley, for example, many singles are not interested in marriage.
People in the Bible Belt are at least giving it a try.
I’d also like to see the age of marriage
in the South and the percentage of people
who actually get married. Same for the
number of children. Compare to the “North.”
I think marriage and children are considered
blessings in the South; in the “North,” they
are more likely to consider children as injurious to
If so, then Southerners might rush into marriage
and children earlier. Later they also get bitten
by the “self fulfillment” bug from Northern culture.
All conjecture, of course.
Yes, but as noted in another post, the divorced and never
marrieds are treated the same in the study,
and you don’t get counted if you don’t
Totally fallacious. Correlation is not causation.
I wonder if this is because people don’t look at marriage as a Sacrament, a holy covenant.
I believe this has much to do with it. When people realize they made a promise to God in front of witnesses it helps to put things in perspective. They need to be reminded of this fact.
“The black family is just in meltdown crisis on family and on marriage,” the researcher argued, “and that’s what locking them into poverty.”
True picture of the South with its many areas of black population. A real crisis for family values.
How about money? I always feel there is a secret code of moral conservatism among the wealthy.
It’d be interesting to see a map of, essentially, is the father (or a stepfather of over 5 years marriage to the mother) still married to the mother, or at least regularly living with the family.
SF area has most intact families? What a joke. Methodology must be dicey
Probably the “study” is lie from the start
Do not know where you live but food in the south is most definitely not what you said. We have fried food but not excessively so. The stereotypes about the south are driven by liberal hatred
Then what explains the South having obesity rates so far above average? And please don’t try to say it’s only because of the racial minorities. You’re not gonna do anything to help the South’s reputation by going down that road.
I tend to think the amount of sugary drinks is the leading cause....that and the amount of packaged foods some people eat.
Blacks are not as much of a minority in the south as they are in the country as a whole. Blacks make up 37% of MS population but only 13% of US population according to the US Census Bureau. 37% of a population could skew a result more that 13% could. Just sayin’.
Because people in Liberal areas don’t get married as often...in other words, there are no marriages to break up.
So build a wall and stop the Northern liberals from infecting the South.
They should try to reestablish the black family. Blacks however have never embrassed family like whites. It’s their culture.
In New York City in 1925, 85% of kin-related black households had two parents. When Moynihan warned in his 1965 report on the coming destruction of the black family, however, the out-of-wedlock birthrate had increased to 25% among blacks. This figure continued to rise over time and in 1991, 68% of black children were born outside of marriage. U.S. Census data from 2010 reveal that more African American families consisted of single-parent mothers than married homes with both parents. Most recently, in 2011 it was reported that 72% of black babies were born to unwed mothers.
But all the political energy is spent trying to make the white man confess to being raciest and demanding reparations of one kind or another.
You must be racist. Confess it.
I’m not sure how to define the word racist.
But seeing you are an atheist, upon what basis does atheism consistently determine which things are sin?
Surely, those aren't the only two alternatives (or at least the relationship between different factors is a lot more complicated than that).
Whatever you see or not, marriage as an institution evolved in societies independently, worldwide for a reason - societal stability. It goes in parallel with evolution itself, is a subset thereof (cultural evolution) and needs no appeal to superstition / deity to see its validity and justification.
In the context it was used in it means any opposition to liberal ideology and its agenda, which, like "homophobic," is meant to avoid facing up to the negative evidence against them by personally disparaging the opposition by relegating them to being driven by an invalid irrational motive, thereby placing the person on the defensive, and thereby validating the liberal.
This can extend to making any judgment based upon race. In the early 1990's in Boston i was handing out gospel tracts in the subway system (when you could still do so rather freely). The Red Line has trains that went to Quincy/Braintree (mostly white) and another to Ashmont station, for Dorchester/Mattapan (mostly black).
A train had just left and a lady coming onto the waiting area asked me which train had just left. I looked down the dock and saw mostly white people and and said i thought it was the Quincy train since a lot of black souls were still there. Her response (and i think she was white) was that this was a very racist thing for a man of God to say.
Likewise, quoting a statistical fact that 72% of black babies are born to single women must therefore mean you also are racist. This is the manner of moral reasoning America has much been deceived into.
Blacks in Mississippi rarely marry but whites usually do
white trash is a big issue.....not so sure
Black illegitimacy was one in five in 1962
10-20 times that of whites then
I see. So sin is that which is seen as promoting societal stability for the preservation of the species. It certainly does, and it is not as if God had no reason for requiring that sexual union be between opposite genders in a life long covenant, thus providing the security that sexual vulnerability and intimacy should have, and for the normal result of that.
But atheists can just as well argue that fornication is not immoral, and in fact at least one poll finds the substantial majority affirmed pornography and cohabitation as a moral behavior. And thus it is no surprise to find that the marriage rate is much lower among atheists.
Moreover, they can just as well argue that incarcerating or otherwise removing children from the homes of evangelical Christians, or even a certain race, would be best for societal stability and preservation and advancement of the species.
Certain one can do the same upon a religious basis, invoking their respective "holy book," yet all religions are not the same, while at least there is an objective supreme transcendent standard to interpret.
In so doing with the Bible, one can hardly justify flying airplanes into the WTC, or the Inquisitions, which actually was executed under the premise that the church (like as in cults), not Scripture, was supreme, and which hindered literacy in it by the laity. And which literacy would have its outworking in forsaking the use of the sword of men by the church to deal with theological nonconformity. which early Protestantism had to unlearn.
However, in atheism there is no objective transcendent supreme standard to judge by, and what seems reasonable to an atheist can be that of a Mao Zedong or a Mussolini, etc., under the premise of what is ultimately best for societal stability and advancement of it.
This does not mean an atheist cannot be a relatively moral person, even more so than a religious, but this is judged upon a basis for morality, which cannot simply be what seems reasonable to each individual, but based upon a standard shown to be so when obeyed.
1. Have mercy on me, O God, according to your loving kindness; in your great compassion blot our my offenses.
2. Wash me through and through from my wickedness and cleanse me from my sin.
3. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
You make the error of confusing “morality” with stability.
I said, for societal stability, marriage is crucial. Evolution is about throwing random combinations into a box and seeing which one survives the tests made to endure. Something will almost always survive. If that’s the goal, then yes, you can have chaotic behaviour and still survive, albeit at a non-optimal level.
With the stability of the marital unit, however, human resources are better leveraged toward managing the (seemingly) mutually contradictory goals of individual survivial and greed versus societal survival and converts them into mutually supportive goals. The stability of the marital unit allows the environment of supportive collaboration to be strengthened (the bedrock of societal existence) thus enhancing individual survival whilst also feeding back to the societal structure and reinforcing it. This is all evolutionarily favorable, and the reason why disparate societies have adopted the strategy (convergent social evolution).
Fostering fear and violence within society disrupts mutual collaboration. Justice is essential whenever punitive action is taken, in order to prevent the upsetting of societal stability - because otherwise, large sections of its comprising members will act upon the feelings of injustice and resort to destabilisation. Empathy fosters collaboration. A society that fosters elimination of its weaker sections will also foster instability by increasing insecurity. This is all a no-brainer. I’m surprised you’re asking, even:
No superstition / deity necessary to witness the logical reason for all of this.
That's what this is a map of. Read the article.