In a recent op-ed in the Los Angeles Times, David Boaz includes some needless stereotyping in an otherwise compelling argument. Here’s the letter I wrote to the editor, which you will only find here.

Re “Phony solutions for real social ills,” February 7

David Boaz is right to call out the social conservatives for their phony solutions. But he, too, should search for real solutions – such as more jobs, better education, and less poverty – rather than scapegoating single parents. The Heritage Foundation is not the place to look for credible reports of the implications of single parenting. The Foundation’s claims, as quoted by Boaz, are greatly exaggerated or just plain wrong. My sources, as a social scientist, are the original research reports. Take drug abuse, for example. A study based on a national sample of more than 22,000 adolescents found that the rate of substance abuse for children of married parents was 4.5%, compared to 5.7% for children of single mothers. Hardly a difference upon which to hang the nation’s ills! When more than 94% of the children of single mothers are doing just fine, it is time to look elsewhere for villains.

Bella Depaulo, Ph.D.

Author, Singled Out: How Singles Are Stereotyped, Stigmatized, and Ignored, and Still Live Happily Ever After.

The report I referred to in my letter is “A national portrait of family structure and adolescent drug use,” published in the Journal of Marriage and the Family.