Video: Why the declining marriage rate affects everyone

By Genevieve Wood | The Daily Signal

Families are the building blocks of civilization.

They are personal relationships, but they greatly shape and serve the public good. Strong families make for strong communities. Conversely, family breakdown harms society as a whole.

That’s why America’s declining marriage rate is a real problem.

While on the surface this might not seem like an issue that you and I need to care about, the decline in marriage has a significant impact on each and every one of us—from the amount of taxes we pay to the level of crime in our neighborhoods.

How do we know?

Decades of statistics have shown that, on average, married couples have better physical health, more financial stability, and greater social mobility than unmarried people.

Other studies show that the children of those couples are more likely to experience higher academic performance, emotional maturity, and financial stability than children who don’t have both parents in the home.

The social and economic costs of family breakdown are paid by everyone.

Studies show divorce and unwed childbearing cost taxpayers over $110 billion each year. But the real victims are children.

Children raised in single-parent homes are statistically more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, exhibit poor social behaviors, and commit violent crimes. They’re also more likely to drop out of school.

And when it comes to fighting poverty, there is no better weapon than marriage. In fact, marriage reduces the probability of child poverty by 80%.

So what can and should be done?

When it comes to public policy, one way government can help is by eliminating the marriage penalty. That’s the part of the tax code where two people are taxed more if they’re married than if they’re single.

Second, government assistance programs should provide temporary help to families in need, not welfare that spans generations. For too long, these programs have encouraged the formation of single-parent families by taking the place of breadwinning fathers or mothers.

But more family-friendly public policies like these are only part of the solution.

Civil society—including community organizations, schools, and places of religious worship—must do its part to make sure the next generation understands the hard facts about the benefits of marriage and the costs of broken families. Armed with that knowledge, people can make better choices.

Marriage remains America’s strongest anti-poverty, anti-crime, pro-health institution. It’s an undeniable fact that the best chances for financial success, emotional well-being, and good health for both parents and children happen when parents are married and families are intact.

Image courtesy of Public domain

4 thoughts on “Video: Why the declining marriage rate affects everyone

  1. We need to update our family law, it is based upon the 1950’s society, where men were sole bread winners and we didn’t have birth control.

    Custody needs,to be split where 50% of men and 50% of women get sole custody.

    Divorce, alimony and child support need to be determined on a set amount and % of income, so everybody knows the rules before they get married.

    Two people of very modest incomes can not support 2 homes.

  2. Good article, but there is no marriage tax penalty. That was eliminated years ago. We also need to tell females that if they are a single mother, they are destine for a life of poverty — and there is no way out of except college at night or marrying out it, most men aren’t interested in that.

    That isn’t pleasant, but its honest and needs to told.

  3. In general, citizens have no idea how much the marriage penalty for lower income couples can be. It is absolutely insane and in my belief the Number 1 financial reason for NOT getting married.

    The current tax code permits unmarried couples to claim earned income credit for their children even if one parent earns a lot of money. In 2003, the IRS allowed unmarried parents to choose who claims a child on their SEPARATE tax return. So the parent with $15K of income can claim the children and reap the benefits of the tax code even if the other parent earns a million dollars !

    As an example, a VT couple with 3 kids making $24k and $16K could lose over $8000 in tax refunds if they got married.

    This is what a progressive government gives you. A breakdown in the fundamental laws of human existence and family values in favor of what ?

  4. We may have a declining rate of marriage, but from what I have seen we surely don’t
    have a declining rate of children. we live in a moral-less society !!

    Those on welfare it’s there ” Meal Ticket ” and those coming from foreign countries see
    children as a show of wealth, although it’s on the backs of taxpayers.

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