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Fewer poor and middle-class Americans are getting married, resulting in the country’s marriage rate going down to 48 percent. At the same time, single-parent households not only increased but accounted for the entire boost in child poverty since the early 1970s.
The dislike for marriage goes against what Bill Galston, a sociologist, taught in the early 1990s on how to stay out of or climb out of poverty. His advice then was for Americans to finish high school, marry before having a child, and then have the first child before 20.
Galston, the domestic policy advisor of former President Bill Clinton, claimed that if his advice would be followed, only eight percent of Americans who follow the success sequence will be poor. If they fail to follow all three, 79 percent will surely be mired in poverty, Life Site News reported.
There seems to be some grain of truth to Galston’s warning, although his success sequence rule still holds true. Those who breached the rule are in the lower economic class. The chance of working-class women to bear babies outside marriage is three times higher compared to wealthy women. It goes up to five times higher among poor women. Both classes of females are two times likely to be living in only with a partner compared to richer females.
The marriage gap between the poor and rich groups had widened to reach 35 percent now from only 10 percent in the 1960s, Charles Murray of the American Enterprise Institute wrote in his book, Coming Apart: The State of White America.
Extraordinary economic power of marriage
The lower- and middle-class women apparently are unaware of the extraordinary economic power of marriage, Stanton observed. He pointed out that marriage improves all vital measures of well-being for both genders and the children. It includes income, savings, educational success, recovery from a serious ailment, health, employment, happiness, and a healthy diet.
He noted that the power of marriage covers forced weddings to keep women and children out of the poor house, including couples who married because the woman was pregnant. Stanton explained that “marriage is an essential active ingredient in improving one’s overall life prospects, regardless of class race, or educational status.”
A proof of the power is that the poverty rate for kids who live with two unmarried live-in parents is similar to households led by a single mother.
To further bolster the argument in favor of marriage, a report from the American Enterprise Institute and the Institute for Family Studies at the University of Virginia said that the family income of married women is 73 percent higher compared to single women.
Married men benefit also from the union by at least $15,900 annually compared to unmarried men.
According to Stanton, marriage is a wealth-creator because it encourages men to become better and more committed employees, savers, and providers. They are less unlikely to abuse substances or to commit a crime or fall victim to a crime. Married men, he claimed, have better health and are less prone to accidents.
Mercatornet confirmed Stanton’s claim. It cited a new report from Utah Senator Mike Lee whose Social Capital Project provided data on opioid addiction. While deaths related to opioid abuse grew four times during the 16-year period 1999 through 2015, addiction is more common among divorced males and single young men. Although divorced and single men comprise 32 percent of the American population, they accounted for 71 percent of opioid deaths.
The report added that on various measures, single men, compared to their married counterparts, fared poorly. It observed that married men are less prone to commit suicide, take fewer risks, have fewer car accidents, enter into fewer fights, and engage in less thrill-seeking behaviors. It includes taking drugs.
To worsen matters for single young men, besides the social isolation, they have poor job prospects in a post-industrial economy. Those who are lucky enough to get jobs are often in the temporary form of employment and work irregular hours.
The financial growth of married men comes from the better management of their money because he is more likely to turn over his paycheck to his wife who saves the extra funds in the bank and pays the household expenses. It is not the case for the live-in male because he is hesitant to have a woman who is not his legal wife to take care of his money.
Followers of success sequence
The Federalist reported that 97 percent of young people who were born in the 1980s and followed the success sequence will not be in poverty as they go into their 30s. But it was largely true only for people who grew up in poverty and fewer millennials who kept these things in order even. Members of the Baby Boom and Generation X appear to be better in this aspect of their lives in comparison to millennials.