Marriage reduces childhood poverty by two thirds: study

"This research clearly documents why marriage is an important and fundamental part of society,” says Dr. Pat Fagan of the Family Research Council.
Mon May 30, 2011 - 5:34 pm EST

WASHINGTON, May 30, 2011 ( - Family Research Council’s Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) released a synthesis paper Friday showing that economic well-being in the United States is strongly related to marriage.

The paper, entitled Marriage and Economic Well-Being, shows that married couples are better off economically than persons in any other family structure. The paper reports that only 5.8 percent of married families were living in poverty in 2009.

“This research clearly documents why marriage is an important and fundamental part of society,” commented MARRI director Dr. Pat Fagan. “Having the security of marriage in which to foster children is vital to reducing reliance on government welfare programs which cost taxpayers at least $112 billion annually.”

The analysis shows that married men tend to have more stable employment histories and make, on average, almost 30 percent more than their non-married counterparts. Marriage also affects women and children positively. Married women are less likely to be impoverished, and children from married families have stronger economic mobility as adults.

Fagan pointed to the massive cost of divorce on society, noting, “If the government pledged to reduce family breakdown by just one percent, taxpayers would save around $1.1 billion dollars each year.”

“However, the best way to reduce the size of these programs is on the individual level, with committed relationships that are bound together through matrimony,” concluded Fagan.

The full research analysis can be downloaded here.

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