Marriage Does Matter

By Tom Donelson

Does marriage matter? With the debate swirling around the decline of the middle class, the inability to move a percentage of those below poverty downward and the future of the family structure; the question that needs to be asked is, does marriage matter?

From an economic point of view, there is no doubt that marriage does matter. Thirty-five percent of black families headed by single females live in poverty compared to 7% of black families, and 38% of Hispanic single female heads of households live in poverty compared to 12% of married Hispanic couples. Living in a single parent home increases the chances of children living in poverty and receiving government assistance.

Marriage is a significant factor in poverty and as Heritage Foundation Researcher Robert Rector noted, “Marriage remains America’s strongest anti-poverty weapon. As husbands disappear from the home, poverty, and welfare dependence will increase. Children and parents will suffer as result.” Family structure plays a factor in combatting poverty and the evidence shows decline in family formation plays a role in the number of minorities in poverty. In 1930, only 6.3% children were born out of wedlock but today that number has risen to 40%. Thirty-six percent of single parents live in poverty compared to 6.3% of married couples. Only one out of four families with children are poor when contrasted to nearly 71% of families headed by single parents, showing that family formation is a significant factor in poverty. While many blame teen pregnancy for the increase in single parents, three out of five unwed children are born to women 20-29. Education plays a significant role in unwed mothers as the least educated women are more likely to have children out of wedlock. Sixty-seven percent of women without a high school degree have children without marriage whereas mothers with college degrees or higher have a 8.3% chance of children out of wedlock.

Education is a factor in whether a woman will have a child out of wedlock, but regardless of education, married women are less likely to live in poverty. Only 15% of women who are married and without a high school diploma live in poverty, whereas 47% of single female head of household dropouts live in poverty. Thirty-one percent of single female head of households with high school diplomas live in poverty compared to only 5% of married families and 24% of single female head of households with some college degree live in poverty compared to only 3.2% married women who live in poverty. Nearly 9% of women with college degrees or higher live in poverty compared to 1.5% of married families with college degree or higher.

Something has obviously gone horribly wrong with family formation; CLICK HERE to read more.


1 reply
  1. Pat K.
    Pat K. says:

    For me, this is not a political party issue. It's just common sense. Two can live more cheaply than one alone. How can one keep warm alone? The haves and have nots are growing more everyday. The haves understand the economic benefits of marriage, and they continue to marry. The have nots continue to grow poorer year by year. Marriage is the best social program I know.

    Cohabitation does not have the same benefits that marriage does. It doesn't transmit into the generational blessing in the family that marriages can.

    We have lost our way. That's not the problem. The problem is that we've thrown out the road map and said that didn't need to follow it, anyway. We persist in refusing to see reason when it's right before us.

    Our kids are neglected and brokenhearted, our communities devastated, and churches are overwhelmed with the neediness of families that don't have the structure to survive a storm.

    God help us…………to see the wisdom of the family plan that was designed by You for our protection, to deliver blessing to us for as long as we shall live.

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