Saturday, January 12, 2013

Kids Often Lose Their Church Network in the Divorce

The Institute for American Values will soon release an excellent report, "Does the Shape of Families Shape Faith?" by Elizabeth Marquardt, Amy Zeitlow, and Charles E. Stokes.

This study of the religious effects of divorce on kids suggested to me a connection to another effect of divorce on kids.

Researchers have long noted that many divorced kids not only lose all connection with their fathers, but also with their father’s whole side of the family.  The keenest loss is of their paternal grandparents, who are usually a huge part of a child’s support network.   

In the same way, if children lose their religious community in the divorce, they lose one of the richest sources of general support that our society offers.  They not only lose the small number of people in the church they might have had close personal ties to; divorced kids often lose the much larger network of weak ties that a congregation gives them, the adults who take some interest in their lives and connect them to many other networks of information and support.

Monday, January 07, 2013

Puffing Up Rural Districts With Prisoners

Felons are from cities, but are mostly imprisoned in the countryside. 

The Census does not count them in their home cities, but it does count them in their prison counties.   

Thus, the rural districts inflate their population figures with prisoners, even though the prisoners cannot vote for the district's representatives. 

The felons are subtracted from the population of mostly Democratic districts and used to inflate the populations of mostly Republican districts.

(A second useful point: I learned this interesting fact from a bad book, Hattery and Smith's African American Families Today. We can learn from all sorts of sources, even bad ones.)