Today’s parents may be shortchanging tomorrow’s kids

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First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in the baby carriage. Or so the age-old kids’ song claims. Yet increasingly, that’s not the way Americans look at things — and that may spell bad news for tomorrow’s kids.

In its annual Values and Beliefs report Monday, Gallup revealed that only 29 percent say it is “very important” for a couple to marry before having children — about half as many as believed that 15 years ago.

Many of the others may have kids without ever getting hitched, though countless studies show children do better in married households.

According to the National Center for Education Statistics, for example, only 8 percent of children living in a married-couple household were living in poverty in 2018, while 39 percent of kids raised by single mothers and 23 percent raised by single fathers were in homes reporting below the poverty line.

Children of divorce are more likely to experience health problems and lower graduation and employment rates.

This is a largely an American problem. Almost a quarter of this country’s children live in single-parent homes, but only 7 percent of children do globally, according to the Pew Research Center.

The good news: Eight in 10 singles still say they want to get married, even if it’s not for the sake of any kids they may have. Yet, then again, what does it say about future generations if today’s singles are thinking mostly of themselves?

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