The Benefits of Healthy Marriages

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A recent post at the IFS’s Family Studies blog has a nice summary of the individual and social benefits of healthy marriages. For those who have kept up with me over the years, this is a subject I spend quite a bit of time researching. Nonetheless, it’s nice to have it all in one spot. Here’s the list:

  • “[T]he presence or absence of marriage impacts economic well-being, particularly for women and children. Children raised by married parents are significantly less likely to experience poverty, whereas single-mother families are over five times as likely to be poor. Additionally, the majority of homeless families are headed by unmarried mothers.”
  • “A study by IFS Senior Fellow W. Bradford Wilcox, Robert Lerman, and Joseph Price found that larger shares of married-parent families at the state level are linked to greater economic mobility, higher family incomes, and less child poverty.”
  • “[M]arried-parent families boost the academic prospects of students, especially boys. Research has consistently confirmed that a child’s home environment (family structure, parental education, and family income) is more closely associated with student success than school resources and spending. And a new study by Wilcox and Nicholas Zill found that “the share of families headed by married couples is a more powerful predictor of high school graduation and school suspension rates than are income, race, and ethnicity in Florida.””
  • “Married-parent families also improve the safety of women and children and communities. In general, unmarried women, including those in cohabiting relationships, are more likely to be victims of domestic violence than married women. And hands down, the safest place for a child to grow up is with his or her own married mother and father, while a child living with an unmarried mother and live-in boyfriend is the most vulnerable to physical, sexual, and emotional abuse. In addition to safer families, violent crime is significantly less common in communities and states with larger shares of married-parent families.”
  • “We know…that girls who grow up in single-mother families are more likely to engage in early sexual activity and to experience a teen pregnancy. Conversely, children who grow up in a married-parent family are more likely to form lasting marriages as adults and to raise their own children within a married union.”
  • “We also know that family fragmentation, including divorce, is especially harmful to children. Although the suffering sometimes manifests itself in less visible ways, it deserves to be acknowledged. Importantly, the harms of divorce are not just seen in lower income families; research shows that even privileged kids suffer when families break down.”
  • “Finally, the growing marriage divide between the college-educated and the poor and working class is at least part of what’s driving economic and social inequality in our nation. Because the college-educated are more likely to get married and less likely to divorce than less-educated Americans, they are more likely to reap the benefits of marriage, including better education, higher incomes, and family stability for their kids. Meanwhile, marriage is in retreat among the less educated and working class, who are more likely to be raising children outside of marriage, and to suffer the negative effects of family instability, including poverty. Bridging the marriage divide is an important part of efforts to boost economic mobility for all Americans.”

This is why marriage is still the gold standard. Check out the rest to see their pro-family policy proposals.

1 thought on “The Benefits of Healthy Marriages”

  1. Great post!

    What has been amazing for me to see is the complete denial of (uncomfortable?) truths predominantly by one side of the political spectrum despite the mountains of data out there.

    Surveys like this one show just how much the left wants to deny reality just so they can maintain their image of the world as they would like to see it, where single parenthood is every bit as good a lifestyle as married parents. (Seriously, more than half of liberals don’t agree with the statement “Children are better off if they have married parents”??? LOOK AT THE DATA PEOPLE!)

    I sincerely hope that some day the left will wake up from it’s alternate-reality vision of the universe and come to understand just how important marriage cohesiveness is to all of society and stop trying to use band-aid fixes on an increasingly ailing society that is suffering from the cancer of broken homes.

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