Bad news from the Census Bureau: The number of single-parent households has risen sharply since 1980, continuing a trend that goes back several decades. More than 15 million U.S. children now live in motherless or fatherless families.

In 1960, only 7 percent of white children and 22 percent of black lived in such families. The corresponding figures for 1988 were 19 percent and 54 percent. Thus an absolute majority of black children are now being raised by only one parent.No government program can substitute for the economic and moral benefits of growing up in a family with loving, authoritative role models of both sexes. Until our culture finds a way to reverse the collapse of such families, welfare dependency will continue to perpetuate itself.