Poverty is highly correlated with large families

We have a global poverty problem, but what may surprise some, the US has not escaped the problem. Our middle class has been squeezed, but unfortunately, gravity has caused too many of them to fall beneath or just above the poverty line.

There are many reasons for the decline, but it has been occurring over the last 45 years, so all politicians own this issue. Technology advances, globalization, stagnant wages, downsizing of union populations, costly healthcare, etc. are all contributing factors.

Yet, it should be noted that large family size and one parent families are highly correlated with increased poverty. These two factors should not be a revelation, but too many folks look past these causes to others. This a key reason for the importance of family planning to help families manage their family size and health.

Today, I saw a report that noted the US has more teen pregnancies than other western nations. A data point was cited (without a source) that 30% of teens in the 9th grade have sexual relationships increasing to 60% in the 12th grade. The report supported the practice of more holistic sex education in schools, an experiment being promoted in West Virginia, where 1 out of eight births are to teen mother.

The training speaks to more than abstinence and contraception. It speaks to   how to say no and not give in to pressure. It discusses sexual assault and STDs. It speaks to relationships and the role sex plays when folks are ready.

Family planning and sex education are key tools in fighting poverty. There is a causal relationship between family planning and fewer abortions, which should give  those against family planning some consolation, Rather than condemn or not fund these efforts, we should look at the data and support them.

28 thoughts on “Poverty is highly correlated with large families

  1. AMEN!!! All excellent points, my friend! This is one of the reasons that I am in support of Planned Parenthood. Regardless of the popular rhetoric from the ‘pro-lifers’, Planned Parenthood has a proven track record of helping young people make wiser choices, providing family planning counseling, and birth control. Yes, ‘just say no’ is the ideal answer, but not always the practical one. Thanks for bringing this subject up … it is so important.

    • Jill, I support PP as well. I wanted to write the piece without that name, though. There is an interesting study from Colorado that reveals family planning reduces the number of abortions, reduces health care cost for the state and reduces levels of poverty. Keith

      • Yes, I surmised that was your purpose, and I agree, since the very name seems to set some people’s teeth on edge. I think there is a general lack of awareness about the over-population on the planet, and certainly most people who are not faced with it do not consider the connection between the number of low-income families and single parent-households with family planning. A large portion of our society, I think, is too well insulated from the realities of our society, and they like it that way.

      • Jill, you saw through to my motivation. You raise a great point about lack of awareness of global population concerns. It should be noted that the Koch Brothers are buying water rights. Why is that? Keith

      • I hadn’t heard that one … I will be looking into it. Do these bloated-ego rich men think the world will be a wonderful place for them once they get rid of all us lower & middle class people? Who will produce all the detritus with which they so like to surround themselves? (Sorry Keith … just having a bit of a moment there 🙂 )

      • Jill, preach on. Social inequity is a cause and reason that sustains poverty. This is a key point missed in the President’s budget draft and his speech to autocratic Muslim leaders. A cause of terrorism is corrupt leaders who turn a blind eye toward those in need. They welcome extremists to help and realize later they are a worse devil. Keith

  2. So many people identify “family planning” with abortion and this stands in the way of much needed information about how to say “no.” We need to be able to make important distinctions and keep an open mind about things that affect us directly. Good post, my friend.

    • Hugh, I think you are correct about too many folks. Family planning is much more holistic in what they do and abortions are such a small part of it. We have too many legislators govern off rhetoric and not fact. Keith

    • You are 100% correct Hugh. There is so much more to it than simply abortion, but in reality, there ARE times when abortion is actually the best route. Those who decry abortion also hold tightly to their pocketbooks when it comes to helping a struggling family living in poverty because they cannot feed their 5 children.

  3. Dear Keith,
    In Europe there is much more focus on sex education even on TV commercials. But this approach prevents unwanted pregnancies and then also abortions.See if you can’t look up this commercial for an example.


    Nov 30, 2010 – Uploaded by jerzflip
    Commercial for a Zazoo product. Kid throws a major temper tantrum but watch for the punchline!

    Ciao, Gronda

    • Gronda, you are right, Europe is less burdened with prudish thinking and is far ahead of us. Sometimes we don’t see the forest for the trees. Keith

      • Dear Keith,

        If the right really cared about the gift of life and for reducing the rate of abortions, they would be more supportive of comprehensive sex education curriculum and for ensuring health care coverage for poor women to reduce the US high rates of infant mortality.

        Ciao, Gronda

    • Haha!
      When ‘we’ were smart know-it-all 16 year olds and we walked past a scene such as that we used to say ‘There goes a walking advert for contraception’ (it might have been the only nearly intuitively sort of sensible thing we ever said-back then)

      • Roger, one thing about family planning is to make sure the parents are ready for children. This little ones don’t come with an owner’s manual. Keith

      • Oh very true. Maybe if teenagers had to go through a simulation for a few weeks…..

  4. Back at basic urges( I remember those) Commercialisation has a lot to answer for. And from my crabby old censorious UK socialist (sort of state control) mindset I believe one thing which should be drilled into male children and teenagers is “True Men Respect Women. They are people. It’s only males who worry and fixate about the size of their relevant anatomy who don’t”

    • Well said. True men respect women. That is a key lesson. If there is a corollary, it is we must respect ourselves. Relenting to sex should not be a self esteem issue. My brother-in-law teaches 8th graders in a poor district. Some of the girls feel the need to get pregnant. That is sad. Keith

      • A tragedy. Back in the late 1970s/ early 80s the uk ‘Two-Tone’ band’ The Specials’ brought out a song ‘Too Much Too Young’ which dealt with this subject – it was banned from airplay for mentioning contraception (as the saying is… ‘Go figure’)

      • Dear Keith and Roger,
        DDT does have small hands. And the way he treats his gorgeous wife makes me want to kick him.

        Ciao, Gronda

      • Roger, I had not heard of that band or ban. It seems apropos to the subject. Back to those who resist the obvious solutions of holistic sex education and family planning, abstinence training usually is trumped by hormones. So, better education is needed. Keith

      • Gronda, given DT’s proclivity toward sexual harassment and assault, I would not include him in Roger’s definition of “true men.” Keith

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