Marriage and Religion Research Institute Report: Only 16 Percent of Baltimore Teens Grow Up with Both Married Parents

Marriage and Religion Research Institute Report: Only 16 Percent of Baltimore Teens Grow Up with Both Married Parents

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WASHINGTON, D.C. – Last week's riots in Baltimore are evidence of the effects of fatherlessness, according to a new report released today by the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI). The study was compiled in light of the recent riots and social unrest in Baltimore.  Using federal data, the report found that only sixteen percent of fifteen to seventeen year olds in Baltimore have been raised by both their married parents.  Cleveland, Ohio is the only major U.S. city that has a lower family intactness rate (fifteen percent).

Bishop E. W. Jackson, Family Research Council Senior Fellow for Church Ministries and President of S.T.A.N.D., released the following statement on the study:

“There is a profound crisis in the black community, not just in Baltimore, but nationwide. The crisis is in marriage and family. Seventy two percent of children are born out of wedlock. Too many fathers are missing from the home, and an alarming number of mothers are still children themselves. Boys in these circumstances are inculcated with the values of the streets, and become susceptible to every negative influence. Instead of pursuing education, many embrace the attitude of victimization.  Instead of seeking employment, too many prefer to hustle. Race and poverty become excuses for criminality. These social pathologies are perpetuated from one generation to the next.

“Children raising children; young men looking for affirmation of manhood through gangs, crime and violence; and young men fathering children without taking responsibility for them. This constitutes an accelerating downward spiral. Only God - not government - can redeem the situation. Only prayer can move the heart of God. Only Pastors led by God can shepherd people out the darkness into the light of faith, family and responsibility. The church is the only institution with the credibility and spiritual power to transform the lives of the people and communities they serve,” Jackson concluded.

Dr. Pat Fagan, Director and Senior Fellow of MARRI released the following statement:

“The breakdown of marriage in inner city Baltimore is a tragedy for the city and the state of Maryland.  That this level of public violence happened is not surprising given all that the data tell us about the family life of the inner city.  Three and four generations of single parent family life puts in place conditions of poverty, addiction, crime and abuse.  Children who grow up in these conditions become hardened and distorted, as the riots made visible.  The solution lies in the opposite direction: love and fidelity between fathers and mothers, chastity for the young so that they can be loving and faithful in their turn; prayer and worship to gain the strength to live this love and fidelity and neighborliness to help those around.  When this happens, educational success follows, and business and jobs flow into communities.  Government can do much good but it cannot deliver love, fidelity or prayer. Leadership on these must come from other institutions,” Fagan concluded.

MARRI report on Baltimore can be found here:

FRC’s Ken Blackwell and Rob Schwarzwalder have published an op-ed in the Washington Times related to this issue:


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