Data suggests “married couples seem to build more wealth on average than singles or cohabiting couples.
Why might it matter if marriage fades among working and middle class Americans?
Even though marriages are not guaranteed to last, healthy marriage relationships do promote human flourishing. Marriage successfully integrates emotional intimacy, parental responsibility and economic cooperation into committed, permanent union.
Working and lower middle class couples who don’t marry but choose to live together risk higher odds of union dissolution. Common-law relationships are statistically more vulnerable to dissolution. So are marriages that begin as cohabiting relationships. These breakups often have economic repercussions, particularly when children are involved.
Sociologist Brad Wilcox recently noted from his analysis of the Add Health data set in the US that teens from intact married families had higher odds of achieving educational success and fiscal wellbeing. He notes that this effect is particularly true for teens from less privileged families. It’s not just economically advantaged married couples who pass on socioeconomic benefits to their children. It is also true that many less advantaged couples still get married despite the economic obstacles. These couples also pass on socioeconomic benefits to their children.
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