At some point perhaps the editors of The Guardian would like to club together and buy Afua Hirsch a clue? Sure, vain hope but where there is even that mustard seed of it mountains can be moved.
The claim is that we’re all beastly – all this stuff about personal responsibility is so racist you know – in pointing to single parent families as a source of poverty in our society. That’s not actually being beastly, that’s just taking note of basic maths:
All debates about poverty alleviation inevitably suffer from a myth of personal responsibility. The parallels between the 1834 Poor Law – premised on the belief that individual moral failure was the root of destitution – and the contemporary emphasis on single-parent families being to blame for poverty are striking.
So, how do we currently define poverty? It’s being in a household on less than 60% of median income – sometimes measured before, sometimes after housing costs. This is then adjusted for household size. 5 peeps need, obviously, more than 3 or 1 in order not to be poor.
The modal household in the UK is a two earner household – two adults therefore. The median (yes, mode and median are different things) household with children is also a two earner household.
A single parent household is, by definition, a single earner household. Therefore single parent households will have significantly lower earnings than two earner households. Single parent households, as a matter of basic maths, will therefore be much more likely to be in poverty.
Because of the way we measure poverty – household income and with respect to that median – and only because of the way that we measure poverty then yes, single parent households are responsible for much of the poverty that we measure out there.
Seriously Honey, get a clue.
And one more thing it would be fascinating to find out. Child support. Is this included in the household income which leads to poverty being declared or not? For there are some measures of income where it is and others where it is not. It would be interesting to know, wouldn’t it? Anyone actually know so they can tell us?