The Moynihan Report Revisited

by Elaine Sorensen; Gregory Acs; Kenneth Braswell; Margery Austin Turner

Jun 1, 2013

The controversial 1965 Moynihan report focused on the roots of black poverty in the U.S. and the decline of the black nuclear family. This report examines the state of black families today, gauging how their circumstances have changed since the 1960s and how they compare with other racial and ethnic groups.
  • In 2010, black children were more likely than white children to reside in single-parent, female-headed households (53 percent compared with 20 percent); both groups saw dramatic increases since the 1960s.
  • Child poverty rates have declined markedly since the 1960s, although disparities still exist for black children, where nearly 40 percent live in poverty compared with 33 percent of Hispanic children and 13 percent of white children.
  • Progress for blacks is hindered by challenges in the labor market and educational system, residential segregation and concentrated poverty, and the disproportionate impact of the criminal justice system on black men and families.
  • An important task for policymakers and community leaders today is untangling the myriad factors impeding the progress of black families and increasing social and economic opportunities for blacks.