Liz Farmer, Examiner (Washington, D.C.), December 27, 2010
More than half of family households in parts of the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County are run by single parents, a home life that experts say increases their children’s chances of following in the same footsteps.
The section of D.C. across the Anacostia River is home to the biggest percentage of single-parent households, with 65 percent of family households run by women and 9 percent run by men. The remaining one-quarter of the roughly 32,000 family households are run by married couples, according to the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey.
Other areas in which more than half of families are run by single parents include the remainder of Southeast D.C. and most of Northeast D.C. and areas in Prince George’s near the Capital Beltway. In Langley Park, single-father households actually outnumber single-mother households by a 4-3 ratio.
That these areas have a high minority population, particularly among blacks and Hispanics, is not a coincidence, said Ron Haskins, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution.
“About 70 percent of black kids are born outside marriage, and then you have those born in a marriage, about half of them end in divorce,” he said. “And first-generation Hispanics have a relatively low divorce rate . . . but once you get into the second generation that disappears.”
Haskins said many factors contribute to the high concentration of single-parent households among those minority groups, but “the bottom line is I don’t think anyone really understands why.”