(New York Times) – When it comes to family arrangements, the United States has a North-South divide. Children growing up across much of the northern part of the country are much more likely to grow up with two parents than children across the South.
It’s not just a red-blue political divide, either. There is a kind of two-parent arc that starts in the West in Utah, runs up through the Dakotas and Minnesota and then down into New England and New Jersey. It encompasses both the conservative Mountain West and the liberal Northeast.
Single-parent families, by contrast, are most common in a Southern arc beginning in Nevada, and extending through New Mexico, Oklahoma and the Deep South before coming up through Appalachia into West Virginia.
These patterns — which come from a new analysis of census data — are important because evidence suggests that children usually benefit from growing up with two parents. It’s probably not a coincidence, for instance, that the states with more two-parent families also have higher rates of upward mobility.