Archive for the ‘Child Trends’ Category

Childbearing Outside of Marriage: Estimates and Trends in the United States

February 27, 2012 Comments off

Childbearing Outside of Marriage: Estimates and Trends in the United States (PDF)
Source: Child Trends

Overview. Having children outside of marriage—nonmarital childbearing—has been on the rise across several decades in the United States. In 2009, 41 percent of all births (about 1.7 million) occurred outside of marriage, compared with 28 percent of all births in 1990 and just 11 percent of all births in 1970. Preliminary data suggest that this percentage has remained stable in 2010. There are several reasons to be concerned about the high level of nonmarital childbearing. Couples who have children outside of marriage are younger, less healthy, and less educated than are married couples who have children. Children born outside of marriage tend to grow up with limited financial resources; to have less stability in their lives because their parents are more likely to split up and form new unions; and to have cognitive and behavioral problems, such as aggression and depression. Indeed, concerns about the consequences of nonmarital childbearing helped motivate the major reform of welfare that occurred in 1996, and continue to motivate the development of federally funded pregnancy prevention programs among teenagers and marriage promotion programs among adults.

This Research Brief draws from multiple published reports using data through 2009, as well as from Child Trends’ original analyses of data from a nationally representative survey of children born in 2001, to provide up-to-date information about nonmarital childbearing; to describe the women who have children outside of marriage; and to examine how these patterns have changed over time. As nonmarital childbearing has become more commonplace, the makeup of women having children outside of marriage has changed, often in ways that challenge public perceptions. For example, an increasing percentage of women who have a birth outside of marriage live with the father of the baby in a cohabiting union and are over the age of twenty. Moreover, the percentage of women having a birth outside of marriage has increased faster among white and Hispanic women than among black women.

Multiple Responses, Promising Results: Evidence-Based, Nonpunitive Alternatives To Zero Tolerance

June 8, 2011 Comments off

Multiple Responses, Promising Results: Evidence-Based, Nonpunitive Alternatives To Zero Tolerance (PDF)
Source: Child Trends

In response to highly publicized violent incidents in schools, such as the Columbine High School massacre, school disciplinary policies have become increasingly severe. These policies have been implemented at the school, district, and state levels with the goal of ensuring the safety of students and staff. Many of these policies have one component in common: zero tolerance. While it is clear that protecting the safety of students and staff is one of school leaders‘ most important responsibilities, it is not clear that zero tolerance policies are succeeding in improving school safety. In fact, some evidence based on nonexperimental studies suggests that these policies actually may have an adverse effect on student academic and behavioral outcomes.

Child Trends developed this brief to explore these issues. The brief does this in two ways: it reviews existing research on the implementation and effects of zero tolerance in the school setting; and it highlights rigorously evaluated, nonpunitive alternatives to zero tolerance that have shown greater promise in improving school safety and student outcomes. Nonpunitive programs that take a largely preventive approach to school discipline have been found to keep students and schools safe by reducing the need for harsh discipline. These programs take many forms, such as targeted behavioral supports for students who are at-risk for violent behavior, character education programs, or positive behavioral interventions and supports that are instituted schoolwide.


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