Lyndon Johnson on Families & Children



War on Poverty result: fewer poor kids, but more single moms

The number of Americans who live in single-parent households has soared since [the initiation of the War on Poverty in] 1964--and those families are still more likely to be poor than 2-parent households are. The numbers are stunning in their apparent contradiction: For anyone living in a household headed by a single mother, the odds of living in poverty have fallen from 50% in 1964 to 34% today. Yet the other side of the coin is that single-mom households now account for a greater share of all poor Americans today (34%) than in 1964 (21%).

Behind this seeming anomaly is the fact that there are simply more single-parent households today. 25% of Americans now live in "families with female householder, no husband present." That's up from 8.5% in 1965. Back then, the decline of traditional family structure stirred discussion as a challenge confronting poor & urban African-Americans. Today, researchers are concerned about declining marriage rates for a broad swath of working-class Americans.

Source: Christian Science Monitor, "Great Society 50th Anniversary" , Jan 8, 2014

Develop educational public television

We should develop educational television into a vital public resource to enrich our homes, educate our families, and to provide assistance in our classrooms. We should insist that the public interest be fully served through the public's airwaves. And I will propose these measures to the 90th Congress.
Source: Pres. Johnson's 1967 State of the Union message to Congress , Jan 10, 1967

1935: Texas Administrator of National Youth Administration

In 1935, Johnson was appointed State Administrator for Texas of the National Youth Administration. The NYA was one of the stars in the New Deal crown. Its purpose was as simple as it was praiseworthy: to get young Americans off the street corners and highways and put them to work, either in school or at jobs. Johnson was the youngest NYA State Administrator in the country.

His efforts brought him his first taste of national fame. The organization he built in Texas was used as a model by many other states. He put thousands of youngsters to work on such projects as playgrounds, highways roadside parks and soil conservation. He pleaded the merits of his boys and girls to private employers. He urged college officials to see that their NYA appointments were used effectively to give deserving and needy students a chance.

Within a year, there were thousands of young Texans who called him "Lyn" and regarded him as personally responsible for their economic salvation.

Source: The Lyndon Johnson Story, by Booth Mooney, p. 22-24 , Jun 1, 1964

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Page last updated: Feb 22, 2022