Government Cost of Family Fragmentation

How do you pay for what your family needs?  Cash, credit, or EBT?  EBT, or an Electronic Benefit Transfer card, is a government welfare transfer to economically support needy people who do not have stable incomes, and most likely do not have stable families either.


According to CNBC, welfare makes up one third of U.S. wages (see the article at

http://www.cnbc.com/id/41969508/Welfare_State_Handouts_Make_Up_One_Third_of_U_S_Wages, or the Daily Mail report at http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1364450/US-welfare-nation-Government-handouts-make-ONE-THIRD-salaries.html). A report from the Congressional Budgent office revealed that one in seven U.S. residents received food stamps in 2011.  Now at the end of 2012 we are approaching one in four residents relying on food stamps.  According to the Wall Street Journal, food stamps increased by 70% over the last four years.  (Read more at http://blogs.wsj.com/economics/2012/04/19/food-stamp-rolls-to-grow-through-2014-cbo-says/?mod=e2tw.)


Government support in America is an emergent trend: It supports nearly 40 million people; it is largely observable in broken households; it is creating “a nation of welfare families,” in the words of legal scholar Stephanie Coontz.  These families are fragmented relying on state and federal financial assistance for their very survival.  The cost to the United States for this phenomenon of family fragmentation in 2008 was $112 billion dollars.


The government cost of supporting broken families cannot be ignored.  But how did this happen?


Legal and economic principles govern the price tag for the economics of family fragmentation.  In the next several weeks, FamilyRestoration will discuss this issue, explaining family support programs, what they are, and how they work; while also explaining the phenomenon of family fragmentation – what it is, and why it is so rampant.  Then we will share with you how much each state spent over the last five years on the costs of family fragmentation.  This series of posts are several microcosms of an article forthcoming in the Regent Law Review this fall by Rachel Toberty and me entitled "A 50 State Survey of the Cost of Family Fragmentation."  We will preview that piece with these posts, and share with you how you can get a complete copy of the entire body of research.


The costs of family fragmentation will astound you, we promise.  Tomorrow, look for the first in a series of 50 posts, noting each state's costs.






  1. I think it is important for the actual costs to be determined and then publicized to aid in an informed electorate BUT many of these folks need this aid to maintain simple subsistence levels. This aid also provides a stable platform onto which to strive and build for more normalcy in their lives.
    The problem here is that in the (distant ? ) past many churches and charitable organizations provided this aid but now, no longer do so. I think the energy used to publicize the costs to the government should also be used to energize the religious community to recommit to the charitable principles that once were the hallmark of religious institution's community involvement across America.

  2. I agree with the above reasoning; while these programs do start a vicious cycle of hemorrhages taxpayer dollars and dependency on the part of the needy, the way to solve these problems can't be accomplished by doing away with the programs without first locating a suitable alternative to take their places. I like the suggestion that churches and local organizations should do more to reach out to the indigent, but from my experience, they already do these kinds of things. The church I go to in Richmond (St. Bridget's) runs programs for the homeless every Christmas and periodically participates in programs to help the needy. Perhaps part of the problem is that these people who need assistance don't know that they can look towards their local churches and perhaps an increase in awareness can help to change that.