Spending your teenage years in a single-parent family puts you at a larger educational disadvantage today than it did 40 years ago, claims a new study.
In 2009, young adults who spent time living in single-parent families had completed 1.32 fewer years of schooling than their peers from two-parent families, according to a paper published last week in the academic journal Education Next. The college completion rate also was 26 percentage points lower for 24-year-olds who lived in single-parent homes as teens.
Both gaps have more than doubled since 1978, when there was a 0.63-year difference in schooling completed and a 12 percentage point difference in college completion rates.
Income accounts for a lot of the relationship between family structure and educational attainment, according to the study. But income doesn't account for all of it, and the authors had no answer for why single-parent family structure matters more now than it did a few decades ago.
The paper is part of a series Education Next is publishing on the state of the American family to mark the 50th anniversary of the release of late New York Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report on black families.