marriage

marriage

Support Marriage- Promote Women’s Health

income, marriage, Urban Institute, women's health No comments

Adding to the discussion on women’s health, a recent survey reported that 40.2 percent of women – compared to 29.5 percent of men – reported an unmet medical need due to costs within the last year (*note, however, this is a biased figure and the disparity is actually lower). There is much speculation on the causes for this disproportionate need of women, but identifying a driver is quite simple: the deterioration of marriage. Marriage lifts women out of poverty. Divorce and cohabitation keep women in poverty.

Marriage provides a number of (intuitive) economic benefits to women. Married women share income with their husbands, and are able to optimize the division of labor for a household. Married couples enjoy, on average, larger incomes, greater net worth, and greater year-to-year net worth growth. Not surprisingly, marriage raises the long-run family income of children born to single parents by 45 percent.

Divorce does the opposite. Divorce causes women to disproportionately bear the brunt of poverty. Family income falls by 41 percent and family food consumption falls by 18 percent in the year following a divorce. Divorce is the main factor in determining the length of “poverty spells,” particularly for women whose pre-divorce family income was in the bottom half of the income distribution.

Although it might seem that cohabitation can provide the same economic benefits as marriage, it in fact cannot truly alleviate the feminization of poverty.  Cohabitation is temporary (with a roughly 50% failure rate), and the men in cohabitation are less attached to the labor market than married men. Cohabiters share fewer resources, since their bonds are less assured. Cohabitation, therefore, lacks all the natural gains of marriage (security, labor market benefits such as insurance, and the pooling of resources). Preferring cohabitation over marriage in our policies means preferring a modality of life that cannot deliver the benefits to women’s health coverage that marriage can.

If we want to promote women’s health, we really must discourage divorce and cohabitation. and encourage marriage.  Studies have already shown that married women rate their health better than divorced, separated, widowed, and never-married women do. Married women’s ability to cover their medical costs is one of the many reasons why. 

*According to the Urban Institute: “Questions on unmet need for contraceptive prescriptions or other family planning services were only asked of female respondents. Respondents may report an unmet need because of cost for more than one type of service, so sums may exceed the share reporting any unmet need because of cost.”

Wonk Wong

marriage, single mothers, Washington Post No comments

By Henry Potrykus

The Washington Post recently posed the question of how we should react to the “unbelievable” finding that marriage is dissolving and single parenthood is rising in America.  The Post makes “clear:” “none of the findings [on which it relies] mean that children would necessarily be better off if their biological parents married.”

From that point of clarity, the Post (and the researchers on whom it relies) goes on to advocate that for the sake of postponing motherhood, more educational and career opportunities must be created for lower-educated women.  This, says the Post, should go along with the rather broad policy of improving the economic prospects of “suitable partners” those women are “searching for.”

First off, it’s downright un-American to be against more education.  This we must all stand for, even if a degree does not confer human capital as we expect (human capital: the skills, capacities, and know-how of value in the labor market), and even if the newly minted grads simply end up part-time baristas with a fat bill to pay.  So, for this rebuttal, let me put the policy aside.  Soundly critiquing such policies requires a more thorough examination of economic sociology.

Here, let me rebut the Post’s logic.  The Post is wrong when it says two sociologists’ work – the statistics of McLanahan and Jenks – mean the problem of non-marriage demands a solution “far beyond marriage.”

Now, the Post relies on work by McLanahan and Jenks, who caveated their findings:  Recall the laden term “necessarily” quoted above.

The real issue is what do statistics say for policy, and, specifically, what does research on marriage in America say for policy? 

Here’s the easy part: statistics are about the general – usually average – case.  So of course they don’t speak to something necessarily affecting any given individual.  They speak to what generally happens.  Governance is also best construed around the general, so statistics do have a use there.

Here’s the harder part, which is about the methodologies employed by researchers nowadays.  That is, it’s about science:  Researchers have more or less three classes of tools to study a phenomenon like marriage.  One is descriptive statistics, the second is called regression, and the third are – sometime occult – analyses of “natural” experiments.

Let’s put aside descriptive statistics (even though the work of McLanahan and Jenks has many nice figures); work by McLanahan and Jenks and other sociologists should be considered at par when they involve so-called multiple regression analysis.  These analyses show the simultaneous influence of different factors on some outcome.  Informally, if you say a group’s workforce participation level (a pro-social activity of interest to the Post and McLanahan and Jenks) is to be found irrespective of that group’s proclivity to be married you contradict this second type of analysis.  These analyses say that marriage influences partners’ workforce participation.

Of course, we are not interested in whether marriage and working are merely correlated.  Maybe only the guys already with jobs get the girls (in marriage of course).

This is where the hard part comes to a head:  Sophisticated analyses of the third type can show that the dissolution of marriage actually does affect behaviors and prospects, and does affect the outcomes of the children the Post wants helped.  Sophisticated analyses do uncover a positive effect of marriage on social outcomes.  These analyses confirm the more basic, second kind of analyses.

Let me reiterate that: The workhorse, more basic analyses of sociology tend not to be wrong-headed.  In fact, good analysis of the second type does point to causal relations.  It is just not in itself completely conclusive.  It nevertheless tends to align correctly – and even quantitatively – with the much more difficultly arrived-at causal analyses.  (There are reasons for this.)

We are at the end of the critique of the Post’s logic:  Children in general would be better off if their biological parents married.  Just because sociology’s baseline method (regression) is not totally conclusive, one cannot infer that that method shows things that are not there.  Saying “this fact is uncertainly arrived at, so it is false” is a bad inference!  (Marriage is important to social outcomes even if all that science we fund through NSF grants shows it!)

Even without delving deeper into the science, we can nonetheless conclude that the Post cannot make the inference it wants: none of this body of evidence means the problem of non-marriage demands a solution “far beyond” marriage itself. 

Quite the contrary: Solutions are found within marriage.  Sophisticated studies indicate marriage causes positive behavior changes that are [very] difficult to affect otherwise. 

The good analyses of the second type which line up with the causal studies show the same.  If the Post wants the economic prospects of “suitable partners” to improve, I suggest it stop looking “far beyond” an empirically proven means of doing so.

To close, I want to confess my own befuddlement in the Post’s choosing to call the last few decades’ flight from marriage “unbelievable.”  The calamity follows on the heels of the sexual revolution.  According to the Post, one behavior doesn’t beget another?  No, we should be about as bewildered by this – yes, seismic  – shift away from marriage as we would be in observing people buying more bananas once the price of bananas falls. 

And that elementary point should be what we pivot on to get back to good policy.

Remember to Thank God for your Family

intact family, marriage, Thanksgiving No comments


At the first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims and Native Americans came together to thank God for the abundant blessings bestowed upon them, especially for their families. Unfortunately today, though family still remains, God is being pushed out some by Black Friday sales and other materialistic frenzies. But as the bedrock of society that best cultivates future generations, the intact married family that worships God weekly cannot be forgotten—it was and is one of the most important things we all have to be grateful for. 
Although most Thanksgiving festivities are winding to a close, the intact married family produces a number of benefits for individuals and society, and should be celebrated everyday of the year. MARRI has consolidated 20 social science reasons to give thanks to God for your married family:

  1. Men raised in married families have more open, affectionate, and cooperative relationships with the women to whom they are attracted than do those from divorced families.  
  2. Families with either biological or adoptive parents present have the highest quality of parent-child relationships.
  3. Married men and women report having more enjoyable sexual intercourse more often.
  4. Those from married families are less likely to see religion decline in importance in their lives, less likely to begin attending church less frequently and less likely to disassociate themselves from their religious affiliation.
  5. Children of married parents are more engaged in school than children from all other family structures.
  6. Children in intact married families have the highest combined English and math grade point averages (GPAs.)
  7. Adolescents from intact married families are less frequently suspended, expelled, or delinquent, and less frequently experience school problems than children from other family structures.
  8. Men’s productivity increases by 26 percent as a result of marrying.
  9. Intact married families have the largest annual income of all family structures with children under 18.
  10. Married couples are less likely to receive welfare.
  11. Married men are less likely to commit crimes.
  12. Marriage is associated with lower rates of domestic violence and abuse, compared to cohabitation.
  13. Married women are healthier than never-married, divorced, and separated women.
  14. Married men and women are more likely to have health insurance.
  15. Married men and women have higher survival rates after being diagnosed with cancer, regardless of the stage of the cancer’s progression.
  16. Married people have lower mortality rates, including lower risk of death from accidents, disease, and self-inflicted injuries and suicide.
  17. Married people are least likely to have mental disorders.
  18. A larger fraction of those raised in an intact family consider themselves “very happy” than those raised in non-intact families.
  19. Married parents spend more on education and less on alcohol and tobacco as compared to cohabiting parents.
  20. Married mothers enjoy greater psychological well-being and greater love and intimacy than cohabiting or single mothers.
 

Humanum Series Celebrates Young Marriage Activists

Humanum conference, marriage, young adults No comments


Liberal propagandists claim that traditional marriage, sexual fidelity, and family values are antiquated ideas; however, a rising generation of activists is quickly debunking this myth. In “Challenge and Hope for a New Generation,” the fifth segment of the Humanum Series launched at the International Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman, a group of young adults assess the state of marriage worldwide. It is true that marriage is in crisis, but it is false that there is a lack of desire for marriage. Young people thirst for marriage—they long for its stability, its loyalty, and its love. According to Malcolm Rivers, a 27-year old teacher in D.C., the problem is that “we are deeply and woefully underprepared for marriage.”
Malcom is right on target. Radical feminists have inculcated licentious mores in “sexual health” classes, and taught that casual hookups are a natural way to fulfill sexual desires. This idea, that the sexual act is nothing but a means to fulfilling an individual’s pleasures, has altered the dynamic between a romantic couple. Although once a single unit in which each complemented the other in order to elevate the whole, now a couple is nothing but two individuals using each other to extract physical pleasure. This dooms relationships to failure. “Permanence requires me to do things for other people. I can’t have a permanent relationship with somebody if I’m only worried about myself” Malcom said. Nobody wants to enter into a permanent relationship knowing that the other person is only in it to gratify his/ her own needs.
Young marriage supporters from Mexico to France to Lebanon agree. Alix Rokvam, a founder of Les Veilleure in France, stated, “We all had sex education in school, but we never had romantic education, which encompasses all aspects of sexuality, not just the technique.” A group of young ladies in Lebanon reminisced on the days when “People used to support each other more.” Worldwide, young people are yearning for relationships built on complementary teamwork rather than competition. The problem is that few know how to achieve this dream.
In his Tuesday presentation, Rev. Dr. Rick Warren offered some practical advice on how we can prepare more people for stable marriages: celebrate healthy marriages. We must offer an appealing alternative to the hookup culture by giving people the confidence that their marriage can last, and we must show that the sexual act should be rooted in a selfless love between husband and wife. This advice is scientifically supported. For example, MARRI research shows that children who grow up in intact, married families are more likely to have a positive outlook on marriage and maintain more stable marriages than their counterparts. Adolescents with married parents are less likely to engage in risky sexual behavior, have sex out of wedlock, or have an abortion. In essence, healthy marriages promote more healthy marriages.
Once selfless marriages gain standing, more and more young people will naturally flock to uphold this institution and its values. “Everyone should know that there are young people concerned about taking back our values,” Lily Alvarez Rabadan of Mexico City stated. “Young people are thirsty for love, and so, we have to talk about it, we have to shout about it.”

Pope Francis Affirms the Value of Traditional Marriage

children, Humanum conference, marriage, Pope Francis No comments


Anyone questioning Pope Francis’ stance on the value of traditional marriage can put all doubts to rest. In the ongoing International Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman, Pope Francis reiterated what amounts to a public doctrine on marriage: “The family grounded in marriage is the first school where we learn to appreciate our own and others’ gifts, and where we begin to acquire the arts of cooperative living.”

The family unit, bound by the union of a husband and his wife, is no simplistic element. It is an exceptional unification that conjoins the complementary but diverse gifts of a man and woman. “Complementarity will take many forms as each man and woman brings his or her distinctive contributions to their marriage and to the formation of their children — his or her personal richness, personal charisma,” Pope Francis said. “Complementarity becomes a great wealth. It is not just a good thing but it is also beautiful.”

However, as MARRI research confirms, commitment to marriage is slowly fading. “Evidence is mounting that the decline of the marriage culture is associated with increased poverty and a host of other social ills, disproportionately affecting women, children and the elderly” Pope Francis said. It is indisputably true that marriage is fundamental for a prosperous society. Marriage promotes education, builds wealth, supports health, decreases crime, reduces poverty, and discourages government dependency.

But the benefits of marriage transcend the material. As Francis said, “The family is the foundation of co-existence and a remedy against social fragmentation.” The intact married family, and all of its associated benefits, are necessary for every child to freely grow to their fullest potential. The married intact family is, in essence, a fundamental human right for every child. 

Pope Francis’ public doctrine on marriage—though sideswiped by the mainstream media—is no trivial declaration. It is a logical examination of the social science outcomes of marriage, and a commonsense reaction that some politicians have failed to recognize.

The Truth of Marriage: A Lesson from the Humanum Conference in Rome

Humanum conference, marriage, Pope Francis, Rick Warren No comments


In his Tuesday presentation at the International Colloquium on the Complementarity of Man and Woman, evangelical pastor Rev. Dr. Rick Warren reiterated a vital fact that has been lost in the marriage debate: the fundamental good of the family is a timeless truth impenetrable by society’s transient whims. 
As it stands, the good of marriage—and the family it conceives—is obscured by deceiving rhetoric like “love is love,” “equality,” and “bigotry.” Opponents to traditional marriage label it as an antiquated religious concept that is over and done. But Pastor Warren has one lesson for them: “Truths don’t stop being truths just because they become unpopular.”
The truth is that marriage continues to produce as many benefits as ever. As the Marriage and Religion Research Institute (MARRI) shows, marriage promotes health, increases education, expands wealth, reduces poverty, decreases crime, and discourages government dependency. Its benefits are not only far-reaching, but also long-lasting.
The immutable good of marriage is rooted in the creation of the world when God made male and female. As such, it is engrained in natural law. Only in the sexual act can man and woman populate the world; only within marriage will the sexual act produce a stable society. Society has tried to change this. It has conspired to divorce sexuality from marriage and children from sexuality through man-made constructs like contraception and safe sex. But these attempts have failed and will continue to fail because they contradict the ordered world. As Pastor Warren said, “There’s no such thing as ‘safe sex’ because they don’t make a condom that can fix a broken heart.”
Simply put, the marriage debate is a battle between truths and untruths. Anything that contradicts natural law is an untruth. Although political correctness, popular fads, and social constructionists have tried to debunk the binary notions of truths and falsehoods, right and wrong, good and evil, there is no escaping God’s word. It is time we heed Pastor Warren’s call to action to defend these truths. It is time we accept that the family is, as Pope Francis said, “a strength per se.”

Passing the Half Emptier Mark

children, family, MARRI, marriage No comments

Marriage was once seen as a permanent bond intended to promote monogamous love, spousal devotion, and childrearing. Today, however, many view marriage, or rather its deliberate avoidance, as a means of defying tradition, asserting feminist ideologies, and/ or avoiding commitment. Perhaps most alarming, the mainstream public is supportive but ignorant of the consequences of this shift. 
A Pew Study released Wednesday reveals that 50 percent of adults believe that society is just as well off if people have priorities other than marriage and children, whereas only 46 percent believe society is better off if people make marriage and having children a priority. However, social science data suggests otherwise. In marriage are contained the five basic institutions—the basic tasks—of society: family, church, school, marketplace and government. MARRI research has emphasized the multitude of benefits the intact, married family confers on children as they learn to value and perform these five fundamental tasks. A few of these advantages are highlighted below.
Family
Families with either biological or adoptive parents present have the highest quality of parent-child relationships,perhaps because marriage enhances an adult’s ability to parent. Married people are more likely to give and receive support with their parents and are more likely to consider their parents as means for possible support in case of an emergency.
Furthermore, those who marry experience increased commitment and stability. Men raised in married families have more open, affectionate, and cooperative relationships with the women to whom they are attracted than do those from divorced families. Correspondingly, married mothers report more love and intimacy in their romantic/spousal relationships than cohabiting or single mothers.
Church
A larger fraction of adults who grew up in an intact married family than from non-intact family structures attend religious services at least monthly. Those from married families are less likely to see religion decline in importance in their lives, less likely to begin attending church less frequently, and less likely to disassociate themselves from their religious affiliation.
School       
Children of married parents are more engaged in school than children from all other family structures. Individuals from intact families completed, on average, more years of schooling and were more likely to graduate from high school and college than were their peers raised in non-intact families. High school students in intact families have GPAs 11 percent higher than those from divorced families.
Marketplace
Intact married families have the largest annual incomeand  the highest net worth of all families with children (widowed families excepted).  Married couples file less than half of all income-tax returns, but pay nearly three-quarters of all income taxes. Marriage increases the income of single African-American women by 81 percent and single white women by 45 percent; African-American men also see an increase in income after marriage.
Government
Crime. Adolescents from intact families are less delinquent and commit fewer violent acts of delinquency. Likewise, a lower fraction of adults and youths raised in intact families are picked up by police than those from non-intact families.
Violence and Abuse. Marriage is associated with lower rates of domestic violence and abuse, in comparison to cohabitation.Correspondingly, Children in intact married families suffer less child abuse than children from any other family structure. Compared to teenagers from intact families, teenagers from divorced families are more verbally aggressive and violent toward their romantic partners.
Health. Married men and women are also more likely to have health insurance. A lower fraction of married than widowed, divorced or separated, never-married, or cohabiting persons have fair to poor health.  Married people are least likely to have mental disorders, and have higher levels of emotional and psychological well-being than those who are single, divorced, or cohabiting.
This data indicates that, contrary to popular opinion, society will not be “just as well off” if marriage and childrearing is neglected or even rejected. Marriage is the foundational relationship for all of society, and a prerequisite for a prosperous nation.
Thinking otherwise, half of Americans are out of touch with reality.
(For full citations, please see the MARRI’s synthesis paper “164 Reasons to Marry”)

Is the roof falling in?

marriage No comments

Last Saturday in the Wall Street Journal I read about the dilemma of the European welfare state: its low fertility cannot sustain the welfare state and its anemic economy cannot offer jobs to young millennials. Yesterday, I read Fred Andrews’s New York Times review of Carbone and Cahn’s “Marriage Markets,” an unhappy recounting of the unappealing economics of marriage for all but the upper class. Last night, I started reading Mitch Perlstein’s wonderfully written book, “From Family Collapse to America’s Decline.” This morning I read Mark Regnerus’s latest analysis from his massively expanded survey, on the significant splitting in the nation regarding what is seen good and acceptable in sexual and family matters. Every author each in his own way sees the drift tending in the wrong direction away from marriage.

Regnerus has a wonderfully enlightening interpretation in his video graphic on the economics of sex. The price of sex has lowered. Before the pill it used to cost a guy his life, now just a date or two. By and large he (and she) can get away with it as never before but the price is being exacted in declining education, productivity and employability and stagnant near-poverty for more and more. This sets the next generation up for still further decline.

Charles Murray says we are Coming Apart and recently retired professor of political philosophy, Fr. James Schall of Georgetown, says we, as a polity, already are that nasty mix described by Aristotle: the classical combination of tyranny and democracy.

All this could be pretty depressing especially when the bottom line is that our civilization is clearly in deep trouble. Though Christianity gave us the traditional family based on monogamous fidelity of spouses and their dedication to their children as more and more Christians give up on their own moral code (see Regnerus analysis) nothing else is left — for no else has a better template.

However a ray of hope exists within recent writings: increasingly more and more see that how the sexual is negotiated is at the center of this decline. Even economists (some of them at least) are gradually beginning to see the connection between marriage and the economy.

The solution lies in the regrowth from within the collapse that is underway — among those who hold to “the template that works.” Though Christians in the Middle East may die of martyrdom Christians in the US will have their own heavy price to pay, first in the natural price of good family life and then in the extra costs, not least the extra taxes, to pay for the dysfunctions of a broken America. Though the price is high, the options are clear: live a life of meaning and love or live a life in pursuit of pleasure and things, but devoid of people. For those who reflect on it, it is a “no-brainer”.

Why do it: for the love that it all will take. For it is only love will conquer the tyranny built on the sexual gone wrong. Every wronged spouse knows that. Every former porn addict knows that. America will learn it all over again … but only from those who love. Though we will always need our brave military soldiers, a new type of soldier is emerging: the one pledged to chaste love. How medieval. Maybe history is about to repeat itself.

The Comparative Health and Sickness of America’s Racial and Ethnic Groups

child well-being, children, family, generations, MARRI, marriage No comments


The National Center for Family and Marriage Research  at Bowling Green State University has just issued a research report on the rates of “first marriage” across different racial/ethnic groups. Interestingly, the ranking of those rates closely parallels the cross-racial/ethnic ranking of the Index of Family Belonging (the fraction of 15- to 17-year-olds who have grown up in an intact married family, which has not changed measurably in the last 3 years) published by The Marriage and Religion Research Institute.


Remarkably, Asians (whose Index of Family Belonging MARRI shows to be 65 percent) enter marriage at a rate of 6.2 percent (62 per thousand adults) each year. Whites have an Index of 54 percent, while they have a (first) marriage-entry rate of 51 per thousand adults. Hispanics have an Index of Family Belonging of 41 percent and an entry rate into first marriage of 40 per thousand native-born Hispanic adults (though the entry into first marriage among immigrant Hispanics is 60 per thousand immigrant adult Hispanics, illustrating that immigrant Hispanics are stronger on marriage and family than acculturated Hispanics). Black Americans have an Index of Family Belonging of 17 percent and an entry rate into first marriage of 20 per thousand adult Black Americans.

Overall, the United States presently has an Index of Family Belonging of 46 percent and an entry rate into first marriage of 45 per thousand adult Americans.

Thus, the proportion of children who grow up in an intact married family parallels the rate of entry into first marriage. That the ranking of the cross-racial/ethnic (childhood) family intactness and marriage entry rates resemble one another makes sense. It is interesting that the rate of entry into first marriage is markedly higher amongst immigrant Hispanics than among native-born Hispanics. This pattern of greater marital and family strength repeats itself across a number of measures on Hispanic Americans, indicating that America’s cultural influence is not always a blessing for immigrants, though clearly its material blessings are.

Because the marriage relationship is foundational to the future strength of the child when he or she becomes an adult, these data indicate that the next generation of Asian Americans may be our strongest racial/ethnic group and that they may continue to outpace other racial/ethnic groups. Sadly, it is likely that African American children (and, later, adults) will continue to fall further and further behind those from all other racial/ethnic groups.

Marriage has a massive and permanent effect on children. No other institution has a comparable influence on the life and wellbeing of a child. The implications of the decline of marriage in America have been clear for some time, as a different Bowling Green reportillustrates, and this means America may weaken into the future, as well, across myriad critical outcomes that spending alone cannot change. Such compensatory hopes are the basis of the welfare state. But the first human welfare is a married mother and father who stay so to raise their children in strength.

Marriage: Its Constant and Increasingly Important Contribution to the Economy

child well-being, children, divorce, economics, fathers, intact family, marriage, men 2 comments

Not until the withdrawal from marriage of the last fifty years has the West been able to see so clearly its powerful contribution to all aspects of society including the economy.

Gary Becker’s work brought the family back into economics (where it had been the foundational unit of economics in the beginning, as laid out by the common sense of Aristotle). Becker’s vein of research has gained more traction and has influenced the work of many other Nobel Laureates, including Robert Lucas (1995): macro growth theory of expectations; James Heckman (2000): econometric theory of samples; and George Akerlof (2001): Keynesian market economics. 

Marriage makes men different. And if it does not, their marriages either end or are unhappy. 

Among the economic differences that marriage makes in men, two stand out: they work harder (married men are more productive, and an area’s minor dependency ratio is strongly associated with employment among adult men aged 25 to 54), and thus earn more (their incomes increase 26 percent). 

Conversely, divorce has a major negative impact, reducing the income of the child-raising household by 30 percent or more while driving down the growth rate of the economy by one sixth every year for the last 20 years. This latter happens because divorced men, on average, decrease their productivity enormously.

In education, the precondition for a good wage in the modern economy, marriage is a key ingredient to the productivity of children in their learning. The early home environment lays down a foundation that has an extremely powerful effect later in life. Children born into a married family have a tremendous educational advantage, which is evidenced by graduation rates right through to the college level.

Married families are much more economically efficient households, a characteristic that is not measured in GDP accounting. What is invisible here is the real resource efficiency of a major section of the economy (the home economy). Many married home economies do much better internally because of this totally neglected aspect of productivity.

As the poor and the working class (even into the middle class quintile 3) withdraw from marriage, the productivity of the U.S. declines and the burden on the welfare system increases. Furthermore, the success of the social and welfare policies developed over the last decades greatly depend on the health of marriage. Failing to recognize this dependence, U.S. welfare policies continue to fail to lift people out of poverty (even as the economy grows and world markets massively expand).

Marriage is increasingly the dividing line between those who can learn, who can work in an information economy, who save, who own their own homes, who live happier lives, and who live healthier and longer.

Until now, marriage has been the hidden ingredient of a vibrant economy.