There seems to be an unnerving trend occurring in the United States today. For a long time, one of the most famous and pervasive cultural images was the classic nuclear family. A husband and a wife with their kids all sitting on the couch in the living room or eating at the dinner table. It was a way to encourage people in America that starting a family resulted in pure bliss, essentially Heaven on Earth.
Sadly, in today’s day and age, that kind of image and idea of family life seems to be in danger of dying. This can be for a number of reasons, but it seems that the biggest culprit is the intense expansion of the welfare state. Throughout the 20th century, getting married and starting a family, especially doing so while still in your early to mid-20’s was essentially the standard for any American worth their salt. However, as the years have passed, and as the welfare state continues to grow and grow, that standard is in near danger of dying completely, which can only mean disaster for future generations.
In order to understand how the expansion of the welfare state is the biggest catalyst for the destruction of families in the US, the best place to start is the so-called War on Poverty. While trying to decrease the amount of people living in poverty in the US seems noble and reasonable on paper, it has unfortunately created a culture that no longer celebrates the nuclear family like it used to. Before the war on poverty started in 1964, less than 10% of children were born out of wedlock, but from 1964 onward, that number began to skyrocket to the point where the rate of children born out of wedlock reach 40.6% in 2013. This happened because the increasing size of the welfare state began to encourage single motherhood. When the War on Poverty first started, there was really only one program that helped benefit single parents: Aid to Families with Dependent Children (AFDC). Since then, there have been dozens more of these programs that, while not specifically geared to aid single parents, give a majority of their aid to single-parent households. Such programs include Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) food program, food stamps, and public housing. While all of these things sound reasonable in concept, it unfortunately created an even bigger schism in the American nuclear family. Many of these programs primarily benefit single-parent families because the benefits received were cut when people got married and gained a larger income for their household. Welfare benefits began replacing the need for husbands and fathers in the house. And with radical leftists and third-wave feminists encouraging more and more women to not get married and practice guiltless sexuality, it seems that this rift will only continue to grow, leading only to further growth of these programs set up to help them.
This seemingly anti-family mentality has led to a multitude of problems for children in particular. It has been proven time and time again that children who were raised by two married parents are, in general, happier. Children in single-parent households are more likely to perform poorly in school, engage in criminal activity, and suffer mental issues. With such policies being encouraged by the government and government welfare programs practically encouraging single motherhood, they’re setting up millions of US children to live a flawed system that will create even more problems for the generation that will come after them if things don’t change.