FRC releases new study on marriage and economic well-being

Mary found this little blurb on the Christian Post.


Marriage plays a big role in the well-being of the U.S. economy, such that sound and stable marriages keep the economy healthy while divorce helps the economy regress, a new report suggests.

The findings released by the Family Research Council’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute show how intact married-couple families outperform other family types, including remarried families, divorced families, single-parent families, and cohabiting families, in all of the following economic segments: employment, income, net value, net worth, poverty, receipt of welfare and child economic well-being.

Basically the stats show that the more intact the family remains, the less the difficulties and the inefficiencies the family encounters.

Married-couple families generate the most income with “the median household income twice that of divorced households and four times that of separated households,” reads the report.

Divorced families on the other hand experience a sharp decrease in income after the separation. Divorced women are affected the most as they are 2.83 times more prone to live in poverty than women who remain married.

MARRI Director Pat Fagan, Ph.D, said couples that remain stably married can provide a sound environment where children can be securely fostered while divorce triggers society’s reliance on government welfare programs – programs that currently cost tax payers around $112 billion per year.

Then I went looking for the research paper and found this press release.


The economic well-being of the United States is strongly related to marriage, which is a choice about how we channel our sexuality. The implications of sexual choices are apparent when comparing family structures across basic economic measures such as employment, income, net worth, poverty, receipt of welfare, and child economic well-being. In all of these the stable, intact married family outperforms other sexual partnering structures; hence the economy rises with the former and encounters more difficulties and inefficiencies as it diverges from it.

Family Structures and Economic Outcomes:

  • Employment and Income. Married-couple families generate the most income, on average. Young married men are more likely to be in the labor force, employed, and working a full-time job than their nonmarried counterparts. Cohabiting men have less stable employment histories than single and married men. Married families generally earn higher incomes than stepfamilies, cohabiting families, divorced families, separated families, and single-parent families. According to one study, married couples had a median household income twice that of divorced households and four times the household income of separated households.
  • Net Worth. Intact, married families have the greatest net worth. A family’s net worth is the value of all its assets minus any liabilities it holds. Married households’ net worth is attributable to more than simply having two adults in the household: a longer-term economic outlook, thrift, and greater head-of-household earning ability (the marriage premium) all contribute to greater household net worth.
  • Poverty and Welfare. Poverty rates are significantly higher among cohabiting families and single-parent families than among married families. Over one third of single mothers live in poverty. Nearly 60 percent of non-teenage single mothers rely on food stamps or cash welfare payments.
  • Child Economic Mobility and Well-Being. Children in married, two-parent families enjoy more economic well-being than children in any other family structure. Children in cohabiting families enjoy less economic well-being than children in married families, but more than children in single-parent families. The children of married parents also enjoy relatively strong upward mobility. By contrast, divorce is correlated with downward mobility. A non-intact family background increases by over 50 percent a boy’s odds of ending up in the lowest socioeconomic level.

Having a high net worth is necessary if you want to have an impact. With money, you can buy people apologetics books, sponsor debates, get more degrees, and contribute to Michele Bachmann, and send your children to the best universities so they can have an influence. Therefore, we need to be extra careful who we marry, extra diligent about preparing for our roles in marriage, and extra persistent in staying married. We need the money for important things.

The FRC is my second favorite think tank, right behind the Heritage Foundation.

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