“16 and Pregnant,” “Teen Moms,” and countless other reality shows have popularized and perhaps even glamorized the lives of unmarried mothers in our society. In addition, the trend of popular female celebrities becoming single mothers furthers the attention. While Hollywood portrays this family structure as desirable and even empowering for women, the true hardships of single motherhood are not always given their just time in the spotlight. Let me be clear, I applaud single and unwed mothers for choosing life for their babies, a valiant decision in a culture which all but hands them a “get out of motherhood free” card. No, the solution to the plight of the single mother does not come from abortion, but rather from Marriage.
August 9, 2012
April 4, 2012
April 3, 2012
A recent study published by the Brookings Institute on the relationship between marriage and economics overlooks the causal importance of marriage in economic growth. When discussing the lamentable recent decline in middle class income, the article rightly fingers macroeconomic features as culpable. But marriage is also a decisive factor in the economic health of families, and the distinction between marriage and macroeconomics is not as stark as might be inferred from this study. “Globalization, technological changes, and changes in labor market institutions” must be accounted for in any diagnosis of the recent global economic malaise, but the omission of marriage from such a study results in a myopic diagnosis and a deficient prescription.
March 2, 2012
While I would not be the first to observe that
Of foremost importance is the issue of marriage: “I have chosen to present class divergence in marriage first because it is so elemental. Over the last half century, marriage has become the fault line dividing American classes.” While the notion that articulating afresh and reinvigorating monogamous, heterosexual, lifelong marriage—that form of marriage that study after study demonstrates is most stable and most beneficial to the child—and committed religious affiliation and practice would be a panacea for the multifarious ills which afflict modern society is unacceptably reductionist, it is likewise facile to overlook the critical position occupied by both marriage and religion in exercising a causal link to the health and success of society as a whole. While honesty itself is a relatively nebulous, intangible, unquantifiable measure in the social sciences, industriousness is explicitly quantifiable. The wealth of research that is often cited on this blog demonstrates the correlation between industriousness and marriage; economic productivity increases as marriage increases, and men who never marry (or who have unstable relational lives) do not experience the same economic benefits as married persons enjoy. Thus, we find that three out of
The analysis provided by Coming Apart adds another tome to the ever-expanding library of studies documenting the fact that marriage and religion are critical to the flourishing of society in general and of
February 22, 2012
The raw data is not the cause of these accusations. The burgeoning number of children born outside of marriage is beyond dispute and is, as Deparle and Tavernise rightly note, a trend that is observable through the past five decades. Only slightly less controversial is the assertion that this trend has been decisively harmful to the development of the children involved. The article is thus correct in noting, “Researchers have consistently found that children born outside marriage face elevated risks of falling into poverty, failing in school or suffering emotional and behavioral problems.” The article also includes the admission by Susan Brown, a sociologist from
The article is lacking not because of flaws in the data but because Deparle and Tavernise’s interpretation of that data is erroneous and relatively dismissive. It is already established that these trends are pernicious toward children and society as a whole. Why then this facile intimation that such trends are somehow of nominal significance, that the increase of children born to unwed parents does not bode poorly for the future, and that marriage is somehow, in the words of University of Pennsylvania sociologist Frank Furstenberg, “a luxury good,” in the face of volumes of sociological evidence to the contrary?
The confusion inherent in the article is made manifest in the implicit insinuation that such trends are simply to be accepted passively as an irremediable feature of American demography, and that the circumstances which occasioned their advent were regrettably unavoidable. Deparle and Tavernise’s interpretation of the data is a reductionist one that explains the decline in marriage as attributable almost entirely to economics and education. While DeParle and Tavernise rightly assert that “men are worth less than they used to be,” they provide no explanation for that development. But the research presented in MARRI’s 162 Reasons to Marry shows definitively that men are worth less because they fail to marry, and that marriage correlates with significant increases in working hours, productivity, and wages for men. Furthermore, married, intact families save more, have higher average net worth, enjoy more rapid net worth growth, and are less likely to be impoverished than any other family structures. None of these benefits apply to cohabiting couples, the very structure identified by Deparle and Tavernise as the source of most of the new nonmarital births. The research supporting these conclusions is copious and consistently strengthened by newer studies. By contrast, the analysis provided in the
Nor are the beneficial aspects of involvement by both parents in a stable marriage for the children merely financial. MARRI’s 2011 Index of Belonging and Rejection demonstrates that children from intact, stable families have higher high school graduation rates and standardized tests scores and a lower incidence of teenage out-of-wedlock births, among other indicators. The data resound to indicate that mothers—even financially stable mothers—cannot so quickly dispense with the fathers of their children, nor can women be removed from a society without grave repercussions, as previous entries in this blog have noted. An indelible interconnectedness binds private behavior and public well-being together, and this ever-increasing volume of studies demonstrates that the sexes are not as independent and isolated as might be thought. It would seem that fathers and mothers are not mutually expendable baggage to be jettisoned capriciously for the sake of convenience, but are rather integral components of successful families and society as a whole.
February 3, 2012
January 31, 2012
By Anna Dorminey, Staff
Libby Copeland writes for Slate on the effects of polygamy and monogamous marriage on crime in “Is Polygamy Really So Awful?” While we disagree with Ms. Copeland’s conclusion (that the best form of union for a society is best not because it is moral, but because it “works”), the research she references in her piece is extremely interesting. Read along:
Ms. Copeland also addresses the effects polygamy produces for individual men, women, and children. These effects are consistently negative:
For more on the benefits of intact, monogamous marriage for society and individuals, visit www.marri.us.
December 23, 2011
By Anna Dorminey, Staff
June 24, 2011
Our Fiscal Crisis: We Cannot Tax, Spend and Borrow Enough to Substitute for Marriage shows that the slowdown in economic growth we’re currently experiencing, coupled with the increased numbers of people dependent on the government, makes closing the deficit impossible for President Obama or anyone else who uses the present welfare state as the economic model to be sustained.
The continual slowdown in America’s GDP growth is explained by the decrease in marriage and families that are focused on children. As a nation, we’re no longer concerned with investing in our future by investing in the next generation. Our newest paper (linked above) demonstrates how stable married families and national economic growth are related.
What’s more, Our Fiscal Crisis is the first in a series of papers documenting original MARRI research about the development of skills, competencies, and know-how [human capital] across generations, and the family’s role in forming that human capital. In these papers, we’ll show how important human capital is to our modern, knowledge-driven economy and how indispensable the stable, married family is to economic prosperity. Be on the lookout for the rest of the series (to be released soon)!