Thursday, June 30, 2011

Marriage Means More Money, Even for the Poorest

Another dispatch from the Schreyer Seminar on Marriage, Family, and Social Sciences.

Jeffrey Dew, as sociologist at Utah State, shared some findings from his forthcoming paper, "The Relationship Between Family Structure and Economic Wellbeing."

It has been well established the married couples have more income and more wealth than unmarried couples, and married parents have much more wealth than single parents. It is also well known that few households in the lowest income quartile have any wealth at all. However, Dew found married couples in the lowest income quartile still have more wealth than other households in that bottom income group.

Women who grew up poor but got married were no more likely to be poor than other women are. But women who grew up poor and did not get married were a third more likely to end up poor than other women are.

Dew estimates that family structure change accounts for at least 10%, and perhaps 25%, of the growing inequality between the richest and poorest households.

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