The Bloody Crossroads

Ron Haskins referenced in September 7, 2009 David Brooks column:

“Two of my favorite essays in the first issue go right at this problem. Ron Haskins delivers a careful reading of the data on inequality and social mobility and cuts through a lot of the sloppy reporting on this issue. He points out that the surest way to achieve mobility is still the same: get married, get a degree, hold on to a job. ‘Poverty in America is a function of culture and behavior at least as much as of entrenched injustice,’ he writes. But how does government alter culture?”

Read full article here.


Five Decades of Crisis: the Persistent, Alarming Link between Illegitimacy and Poverty.

Creating an Opportunity Society cited in August 2009 National Review article

Excerpts from the article:

“IN contemporary America, nonmarital births are inextricably tied to broader socioeconomic divisions. ‘In 2007,’ write Brookings Institution scholars Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill in their new book, Creating an Opportunity Society, ‘the least educated women were six times as likely as the most educated women to have a baby outside marriage.'”

“More recently, Sawhill and her Brookings colleague Adam Thomas concluded that if marriage patterns had held steady at 1970 levels, the overall child-poverty rate in 1998 would have been 4.4 percentage points lower. Subsequent research by Sawhill and Haskins determined that ‘the poverty rate among families with children could be lowered by 71 percent if the poor completed high school, worked full-time, married, and had no more than two children.'”

“In their new book, Sawhill and Haskins point out that the poverty rate among married-couple families is about five times lower than it is among female-headed families with children. ‘The growth of single-parent families and smaller households along with the increased tendency for high earners to marry each other can explain roughly half of the increase in inequality between 1979 and 2004,’ they write.”

Date of Release: August 2009

Creating an Opportunity Society

By Ron Haskins and Isabel Sawhill

In Creating an Opportunity Society, Haskins and Sawhill address what it will take to help more people achieve the American Dream. They focus on three routes to upward mobility among the less advantaged: education, work, and strong families.  Drawing on a wealth of data and research on recent trends in poverty, inequality, and economic mobility, they argue that it will take a combination of personal responsibility and expanded government assistance to make the American Dream a reality for families who are now stuck at the bottom. The book calls for a gradual reallocation of federal resources from the elderly to working-age families and their children and a new set of policies to help the latter advance in these troubling economic times.