Since the 1960s an increasing number of Black children are reared by poor unmarried parents on welfare. To reduce poverty, minimize welfare dependence, and provide a monetary incentive for low-income, unmarried parents to wed, the government established the earned income tax credit (EITC). Since its establishment in 1975, however, scholars know very little about whether this credit can increase Black marriage among low-income couples with children. To address this paucity, I support and extend Mayhew's (1980, 1981) micro-sociological and macro-sociological perspectives by highlighting the individual, interpersonal, and sociological factors that encourage or discourage Black marriage. I examined the qualitative responses of 17 Blacks between the ages of 23 and 61 years regarding whether they believed an increased child dependent tax credit (limited to married parents) would increase the number of married parent Black families. Qualitative analyses of the data revealed that although some participants were hopeful that the EITC could increase the number of Black marriages, most did not believe the EITC would substantially increase the number of Black marriages because the credit fails to address the intrinsic value of marriage. Supporting qualitative data are presented in connection with each theme. Practical and policy implications for Black marriage are also discussed. (author abstract)
Can the Earned Income Tax Credit increase the number of unmarried black parent families
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