Being raised in a married family reduces a child's probability of living in poverty by more than 80 percent, according to a recent report by The Heritage Foundation that found the chief cause of child poverty is the absence of married fathers in the home, Baptist Press reports. "Some of this difference in poverty is due to the fact that single parents tend to have less education than married couples, but even when married couples are compared to single parents with the same level of education, the married poverty rate will still be more than 75 percent lower," said Robert Rector, senior research fellow at The Heritage Foundation. "Marriage is a powerful weapon in fighting poverty. In fact, being married has the same effect in reducing poverty that adding five to six years to a parent's level of education has." The United States is steadily separating into a two-caste system with marriage and education as the dividing line, Rector said; on average, high school dropouts who are married have a far lower poverty rate than single parents with one or two years of college. The report noted that in 2010, only 59 percent of all births in the United States were to married couples. In 2011, federal and state governments spent more than $450 billion on welfare for low-income families with children, about three-quarters of which went to single-parent families.