Family Structure Has Strong Ties to Economic Impact, New Study Shows
TUPELO, Miss.—The start of a new year is a time when many families consider their economic situations for the future and how they will perhaps budget or save differently in 2015.
American Family Association (AFA, www.afa.net) is bringing to light new research that concludes that family status has an enormous impact on that family’s wealth and, in fact, the economy of the entire country.
Many studies have shown that children in families with two married parents fare better emotionally, socially and spiritually than children who grow up in other family structures. But a new study by W. Bradford Wilcox and Robert I. Lerman of the American Enterprise Institute titled “For Richer, For Poorer: How Family Structures Economic Success in America” shows they fare significantly better financially, too.
AFA President Tim Wildmon notes that, according to the study, there is compelling evidence that children who grow up with both parents are more likely to be highly educated and be in healthy marriages and intact families themselves.
“American Family Association, for many years, has emphasized the importance of family structure—one mother and one father, married and raising their children together,” Wildmon said. “This is best for everyone in the family, parents and kids alike. But this study takes it one step further, giving strong support to the argument that those who come from intact families go on to become more productive, better adjusted and economically successful members of society themselves.”
According to the study, “The standard portrayals of economic life for ordinary Americans and their families paint a picture of stagnancy, even decline, amidst rising income inequality or joblessness. But rarely does the public conversation about the changing economic fortunes of Americans and their families look at questions of family structure. This is an important oversight because, as the report shows, changes in family formation and stability are central to the changing economic landscape of American families, to the declining economic status of men, and to worries about the health of the American dream.
“Growing up with both parents increases your odds of becoming highly educated,” the study continued, “which in turn leads to higher odds of being married as an adult. Both the added education and marriage result in higher income levels. Indeed, men and women who were raised with both parents present, and then go on to marry, enjoy an especially high income as adults. Men and women who are currently married and were raised in an intact family enjoy an annual family premium in their household income that exceeds that of their unmarried peers who were raised in non-intact families by at least $42,000 [per year].”
“The truth of the importance of time-honored marriage and family continues to be confirmed,” Wildmon continued. “Our culture and our society would do well to recognize and acknowledge this truth, because ignoring it will have devastating consequences for our nation as a whole.”