Friday, February 26, 2010

Single parents on benefits through 'lifestyle choice'

I always get it in the neck when I use the words 'lifestyle choice'. "Why would anyone choose to be on a benefit?" DPB defenders remonstrate.

Well research from Geoff Dench, a fellow of The Young Foundation, has confirmed that many single mothers are making a lifestyle choice and favouring benefits over fathers.

As reported in the Mail Online;

One in four mothers is now a single parent, having made a 'lifestyle choice' to rely on benefits rather than a partner, a report revealed yesterday.

In NZ at last census 28 percent of parents with dependent children were single. Around three quarters rely on welfare.

More than half of mothers with children under 13 have never married or lived with a boyfriend and find it 'rewarding' to stay at home supported by state handouts, it said.

So how does NZ compare?

Nobody knows.

The Ministry no longer collects this information. Last time I asked they replied;

With regards to your other question on the reporting of the relationship status of single parents currently receiving the DPB, up until 2000 the Ministry included data on the relationship status of clients at the time they were granted Domestic Purposes Benefit in the Statistical Report. However since 2000 this information has not formed part of the Ministry's formal reporting and has not been reported on since 2003. As you are aware the Ministry is not required under the Official Information Act 1982 to create information in order to meet the specific requirements of an individual request. For this reason your request for this information was declined under section 18(e) of the Act.


Continuing from the Mail;

Researcher Geoff Dench, a fellow of the Young Foundation research group, said: 'The existence of state benefits as a source of economic security seems to be encouraging young mothers not to bother with male resident partners.'

...The report said there is growing evidence that 'lone motherhood is less a result of relationship breakdown, more a lifestyle choice'.

...The findings run counter to the claim, regularly made by pressure groups for single parents, that women most often become lone mothers because of divorce or separation.

...The analysis was based on findings from British Social Attitudes, the annual Government-backed survey of opinions and lifestyles that has been run every year since the early 1980s.

It shows that in the 1980s it was true that a typical single mother had broken up with a partner after years of marriage or cohabitation. In 1986 only 15 per cent of single mothers of children under 13 said they had never married or lived with a partner.

But by 2006, 57 per cent of single mothers had never lived as part of a couple.

...At the same time, more than three million men are classed as 'economically inactive', and live on sickness benefits, state handouts or in the black economy.




29 comments:

Oswald Bastable said...

Anyone who would deny this is a lifestyle choice for many is either a liar or had their head stuck where the sun don't shine!

All you have to do is keep eyes and ears open and shop at more lowbrow establishments like pak&save or the warehouse.

Anonymous said...

Hi Lindsay

I have been a single mother for the last 7 years, after 10 years of marriage. I choose to work. Similarly I could choose not to work, but I don't.

Of course, I have only one child so I earn more money from my employer than I would on the benefit. If I had four children I could not say the same, and there would be no financial incentive for me to work.

Over the last five years, I have several times chosen to take steps to prevent conceiving another child.

Some people may ask why anyone would choose to be on a benefit, but I've chosen not to, so presumably other people do choose to.

Love your blog.

Susan.

Anonymous said...

A woman is on the DPB because she has no partner. Therefore she should not be able to conceive more children, so I don't see any need to increase her benefit for further children.

If she is not in a position to support further children herself (which is indicated by being in receipt of a benefit), she should make an appropriate choice to prevent conception.

Susan.

Manolo said...

The saddest part is that the rest of us are paying for all these losers.

Lindsay said...

Good for you Susan.

Anonymous said...

Similarly I could choose not to work,

No. You can choose to steal or choose to starve - or you can choose to work.

But you cannot "choose not to work".


The only way to end welfare dependency is to end welfare. There are no "deserving poor".

Anonymous said...

Anon 9.11 is sick in my opinion and a coward not to give their name or psuedonym. The problem with the world is all these women concieving children when really we should be limiting population growth. The DPB should continue for the sake of the children who were brought into the world with no say on the matter. An alternative, and only that and not really to be reccomended, is the kibutz system of child care while parents work. JCUKNZ

Anonymous said...

I would suggest that Susan's child should be getting an allowance to help Susan look after it rather than if Susan was on the DPB. This used to be the case for all mothers in NZ once upon a time. We went wrong on this matter. JCUKNZ

Anonymous said...

A problem with all these discussions is where are the jobs for all these people currently living on the State. Once upon a time the Government Departments employed for more than they needed, NZ Railways a prime example. Is it better to pay people in a job or on the benefit?
Unless wages for everybody are lower than they should be it is certainly cheaper to have people on a benefit than in employment, when the State is the employer, or when the private employer is really just a 'make work' scheme as happened when TV sets were made in Japan, dis-assembled, and then re-assembled here in NZ to create work..JCUKNZ

Anonymous said...

Manolo,

'The saddest part' is that children of many solo mothers have had a bad upbringing and aren't able to get a job and haven't learnt the life skills that they need to cope when they leave home.

Lindsay,
An earlier post on the high percentage of junenile crime committed by children from solo parent families, indicates that a high percentage of solo mothers would have children with behavioural problems. Having a child that commits junenile crimes can't be 'rewarding' as the study suggests but the results may be skewed because the study looked at the views of solo mothers whose children were under 13. A study on those solo mothers who have children over 13 and there views on being a solo parent may have resulted in an different attitude towards choosing to stay at home to raise their children.

Gloria

Anonymous said...

It would be so easy to turn this around by paying them less (10 or 20 dollars less would probably be enough) for each additional child they had from the day they first went on the dpb.

The background story is here

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1254164/Single-mother-Britain-Three-women-explain-babies-dont-need-father.html

Anonymous said...

Sure the kids don't NEED a disfunctional male around the place but a loving caring father would be good for them and the woman.JCUKNZ

Mark said...

If you want you kid to become the next Graeme Burton choose to live on the DPB because you got pregnant and made a lifestyle choice.

You are the worst child abuses on the planet.

Not surprising from the vapid, moronic, most stupid people on the planet.

Anonymous said...

Anon 9.11 is sick in my opinion and a coward not to give their name or psuedonym.


That's because you are a probably bludging on my tax dollars

The problem with the world is all these women concieving children when really we should be limiting population growth. The DPB should continue for the sake of the children who were brought into the world with no say on the matter.

No way. No DBP, No dole, no food, no bludgers!

Anonymous said...

A problem with all these discussions is where are the jobs for all these people currently living on the State.

So. They should have thought of that before leaving their jobs. More to the point: why should my taxe pay for unemployed bludgers??

Anonymous said...

If you want you kid to become the next Graeme Burton choose to live on the DPB ...

You are the worst child abuses on the planet.


Nope. The worst child abuses are the people who set up the DOLE and DBP - the LABOUR PARTY and the Unions

Get rid of them and you can get rid of the Dole, DPB, and all the rest.

Anonymous said...

National continued with the dole and DPB becuase firstly it is a good idea and secondly becuase they would have lost too many votes to cut it out. Quite apart from the point that it is cheaper to look after these people this way than to have a huge mass of un waged whose only means of support is to be a criminal. Else living on starvation wages paid by money grubbing capitalists who happen to be fortunate. Society is a safer place when the less fortunate are cared for by the more fortunate ... even ACT agrees with this principle .. but I forget you are far to the right of ACT... and foolish into the bargain. JCUKNZ

Anonymous said...

An yes you do pay for my sustinence becuase I worked all my life, except for a short period when DSW paid me $6 a week dole, and also saved for my retirement.
jcuknz

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...
National continued with the dole and DPB becuase firstly it is a good idea and secondly becuase they would have lost too many votes to cut it out.


I.e. because they didn't have the guts.

Any serious reform of the benefit system would also have to remove those who had been on benefits from the electoral rolls so that the net calculation on votes for National would have been very position (remember WFF is a benefit so should disenfranchise the WFFers).


Quite apart from the point that it is cheaper to look after these people this way than to have a huge mass of un waged whose only means of support is to be a criminal.

Christ you really don't understand basic mathematics do you - let alone basic economics.

Else living on starvation wages paid by money grubbing capitalists who happen to be fortunate.

It's called wroking for a living. Something with which you, your Labour, Union, bludging, codger & bennie mates are obviously very unfamiliar.

Society is a safer place when the less fortunate are cared for by the more fortunate

Simply not true. First there is no such thing as society! Second, people are safe when they have the means to defend themselves and their families.
Third, becoming a criminal is a personal moral choice. You always have other options to take personal responsibility for yourself and your family.
Around the world, may people take that responsibility.

See e.g. http://fathersforlife.org/suicides/family_breakdown_suicide.htm

even ACT agrees with this principle

Sorry, but ACT agrees with me!

.. but I forget you are far to the right of ACT....

Barak Obama is far to the right of ACT.

In international terms, ACT is a centre-left party, or perhaps (grudgingly) centre.

JCUKNZ's blog said...

Of course in taking responsibility for themselves you weigh the options open to you. The DPB is an option available in NZ and some other countries. During my working life I never bothered about the so-called dole bludgers and DPB beneficiaries becuase for every one abusing the system there were others in real need. The petty minded and selfish folk who wish to abolish benefits really need to grow up and stop waffling on about having the means to protect their families ... that is the stone age mentality and in a crowded over populated world we need a better system. What we have may not be perfect, few humans are or can devise perfection, but it is a million times better than how many unfortunate people around the world have to cope with when they are not successful in screwing their fellow citizens.

Anonymous said...

I never bothered about the so-called dole bludgers and DPB beneficiaries becuase for every one abusing the system there were others in real need

I don't think benefit abuse should be tolerated because it is difficult to stop it without penalising those people in need.

I haven't got the answer but I think more could be done to educate people about the realities of choosing to be a solo mother.

The increasing number of people on the DPB and teenage mothers choosing to go on the DPB points to the fact that more needs to be done to discourage benefit abuse.

Gloria

JCUKNZ's blog said...

As I understand it the DPB is a very valuable and worthwhile revolving door. As the overall population increases it is inevitable that the numbers will increase as the number of people to support them also increases. Apart from what we all hope is a temporary glitch in the ecconomy the country should be able to behave in a responsible way to its members ... the crux of the problem is teaching people to be responsible in return for enjoying the safety net.

Lindsay said...

The DPB is a revolving door (one revolution) for about a third. As it should be.

Another third use it repeatedly.

And the remaining third rely on it, for all intents and purposes, permanently.

JCUKNZ's blog said...

Those figures suggest to me that it is a revolving door for some two thirds and only a third have made it a lifestyle. Bad enough of course but removing the option completely as some advocate is just rather stupidly throwing the baby out with the bathwater.

Anonymous said...

In NZ at last census 28 percent of parents with dependent children were single. Around three quarters rely on welfare.

So roughly 250,000 - 300,000 people ie lone parents and children are reliant on welfare. That doesn't make sense to me. If you increase it to account for the single parents who don't rely on welfare to 400,000 then the total number of parents and dependant children in NZ would only be 1.4 million. Surely this isn't correct as NZ has a population of 4 million.

Jurk,NZ

It is obvious woman are choosing to have children to receive the DPB when they have no means of supporting themselves let alone a child.

As Lindsay pointed out the government agencies are not even collecting data to show how many woman are doing this.

Like you they wish to reduce the numbers but aren't prepared to seriously discuss the issue.

Gloria

Anonymous said...

I am simultaneously a single parent on a benefit (well, kind of, I'm on the Student Allowance as I complete my postgraduate study) and a right-wing supporter of benefit reform.

I firmly believe that there are sole parents out there who choose not to work, and to stay on the benefit. In fact, I know some of these people. It really pisses me off.

At the same time, where I think you post goes wrong, is presenting the argument that being a sole parent and not having a partner is a lifestyle choice. I strongly disbelieve this.

Any sole parent will attest that this is not a lifestyle choice, as opposed to the support and contribution of a partner. I would just about guarantee that most sole women would rather have a supportive male partner to do this with. I showered with my 3mth old baby and 4 yr old this morning, to save hot water. Not a lifestyle choice I would recommend. I simultaneously ironed a dress for disco day, cooked porridge and prepared a preschool lunch, with one hand while breastfeeding. Also not a lifestyle choice.

Welfare dependency is a serious social issue, and needs to be stopped. Welfare may be a lifestyle choice. But single parenting is not, and all single parents, regardless of whether they're dependent moles or hardworking women, deserve a pat on the back. This job is hard.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous
Thank for some rational thought.You would have to be a fool to choose to be a single parent.Yes there are fools out there.I have been there and done that with 3 children on my own for 14 years.Permanently broke,totally responsible.They are grown and it is a relief.Time for a life now.Pat on back for me and many gold medals.Lindsay:- your outrageous generalizations only make you a joke.

grants for single mothers said...

Being a single parent is the choice of that person whether they want to raise a child together or want to be a single parent.
In one word-yes. Its been now a lifestyle choice of being a single parent.

rob said...

i think its a lifestyle choice for many woman as they dislike the traditional roles expected of them52