Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New study finds minority dropout rates decrease when more black and Hispanic fathers are incarcerated

New research shows that the increased incarceration of black and Hispanic men in the United States has contributed to more single-parent minority households and fewer minority high school dropouts. Between 1970 and 2000, researchers found that the nationwide incarceration rate for blacks and Hispanics 18 to 40 years of age increased 7.3 and 1.5 percentage points, respectively, while the rate of incarcerated whites grew by 1 percentage point. At the same time, the number of children living with never-married mothers rose 1 percentage point among whites, 3.4 percentage points among Hispanics and 18.5 percentage points among blacks, while the number of high school dropouts among all races was cut nearly in half. The results indicate that the increasing incarceration rate of black and Hispanic men is directly linked to a decrease in the number of minority high school dropouts. By removing potentially lower-quality husbands and fathers from the marriage market via incarceration, it appears, their negative influence on children in the home is reduced. So although a higher black and Hispanic incarceration rate leaves in its wake a higher number of never-married mothers, their children actually end up doing better.

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