Family Intactness: Influence on Major State Social Policy Outcomes
Family brokenness is now common across the United States. Only 46 percent of American children reach the age of 17 with both their parents married to one another.1 The implications for America of the weakness of the American family are myriad and profound, as we demonstrate across states below.
Intact married families produce positive outcomes for individuals, for children, and for the states, across all five of the main tasks or institutions of society (family,2 church, school, marketplace, and government).3 Strong, intact marriages are superior in producing educational success4 and in ensuring the formation of human capital5 and are therefore essential to the economic strength of both the family and the state.6
In this publication, we show how family intactness is a greater determinant of a state’s well-being than other explanatory variables (the percentage of a state’s population that had completed high school, a state’s population density, or its racial composition). See the Appendix: The other explanatory variables do not have clear, consistent positive or negative impact on the state outcomes. That is, they contribute more “noise” than “signal” (relevance) to the outcomes when compared with family intactness (intact marriage).
1 Patrick F. Fagan and Nicholas Zill, “The Second Annual Index of Family Belonging and Rejection,” (2011) http://www.marri.us/index-2011.
2 Henry Potrykus and Patrick F. Fagan, “Marriage, Contraception and The Future of Western Peoples,” (2011) http://www.marri.us/demographics.
3 Patrick F. Fagan, Anne Dougherty, and Miriam McElvain, “162 Reasons to Marry,” (2012) http://marri.us/reasons-to-marry. See also the Marriage and Religion Research Institute’s series “Mapping America,” http://marri.us/publications/mapping-america.
4 Patrick F. Fagan, Leonie Ten Have, and Wendy Chen, “Marriage, Family Structure, and Children’s Educational Attainment,” (2011) http://marri.us/marriage-structureeducation.
5 Henry Potrykus and Patrick F. Fagan, “The Divorce Revolution Perpetually Reduces U.S. Economic Growth: Divorce Removes a Fourth of Head-of-Household Productivity Growth,” (2012) http://marri.us/productivity-divorce.
6 Henry Potrykus and Patrick F. Fagan, “Decline of Economic Growth: Human Capital and Population Change,” (2011) http://www.marri.us/human-capital. Also Henry Potrykus, Patrick F. Fagan, and Robert Schwarzwalder, “Our Fiscal Crisis: We Cannot Tax, Spend, and Borrow Enough to Substitute for Marriage,” (2011) http://marri.us/fiscal.