marriage and family

Marriage and Economic Well Being: The Economy of the Family Rises or Falls with Marriage

Authors: Patrick F. Fagan, Andrew J. Kidd and Henry Potrykus

Executive Summary

The economic well-being of the United States is strongly related to marriage, which is a choice about how we channel our sexuality. The implications of sexual choices are apparent when comparing family structures across basic economic measures such as employment, income, net worth, poverty, receipt of welfare, and child economic well-being. In all of these the stable, intact married family outperforms other sexual partnering structures; hence the economy rises with the former and encounters more difficulties and inefficiencies as it diverges from it.

Family Structures and Economic Outcomes:

  • Employment and Income. Married-couple families generate the most income, on average. Young married men are more likely to be in the labor force, employed, and working a full-time job than their nonmarried counterparts. Cohabiting men have less stable employment histories than single and married men. Married families generally earn higher incomes than stepfamilies, cohabiting families, divorced families, separated families, and single-parent families. According to one study, married couples had a median household income twice that of divorced households and four times the household income of separated households.
  • Net Worth. Intact, married families have the greatest net worth. A family’s net worth is the value of all its assets minus any liabilities it holds. Married households’ net worth is attributable to more than simply having two adults in the household: a longer-term economic outlook, thrift, and greater head-of-household earning ability (the marriage premium) all contribute to greater household net worth.
  • Poverty and Welfare. Poverty rates are significantly higher among cohabiting families and single-parent families than among married families. Over one third of single mothers live in poverty. Nearly 60 percent of non-teenage single mothers rely on food stamps or cash welfare payments.
  • Child Economic Mobility and Well-Being. Children in married, two-parent families enjoy more economic well-being than children in any other family structure. Children in cohabiting families enjoy less economic well-being than children in married families, but more than children in single-parent families. The children of married parents also enjoy relatively strong upward mobility. By contrast, divorce is correlated with downward mobility. A non-intact family background increases by over 50 percent a boy’s odds of ending up in the lowest socioeconomic level.

Married Families:

Married men enjoy an income increase called the “marriage premium.” Married families also tend to save more, have higher net worth, and enjoy greater net worth growth from year to year. Furthermore, the presence of both parents at home is strongly beneficial for children, giving both parents myriad more options in devising their income and parenting strategies, resulting in increased economic well-being.

Remarried Families:

Remarriage may improve women’s incomes after divorce, though men who remarry after divorce have, on average, less net worth than continuously-married men. Many remarried spouses choose to keep money in separate accounts rather than pooling all their resources. Poverty is reduced by 66 percent among children whose divorced mothers remarry.

Divorced Families:

The income decline that follows divorce, particularly among women, is well documented. Divorcing or separating mothers are 2.83 times more likely to be in poverty than those who remain married. Following a divorce, the parent with custody of the children experiences a 52 percent drop in his or her family income. The children of divorced mothers are less likely to earn incomes in the top third of the income distribution, regardless of where in the income distribution their parents’ income fell.

Single-Parent Families:

Single parents have a particularly difficult economic situation. Single mothers over age 20 more closely resemble teenage single mothers than they resemble married mothers their own age when their children are born. Single mothers have less net worth than married parents, single fathers, and stepfamilies; their net worth is comparable only to cohabiting couples. Over one third of single mothers live in poverty. Children in singleparent households have less family income and are more likely to be poor than children in married-parent households.

Cohabiting Families:

Cohabiting households generally have larger incomes than single-parent households but smaller incomes than married-parent households. Cohabiting women work more hours as their partner’s income increases because they deliberately avoid an agreement to totally pool their incomes. Cohabitors who live together for less than four years are not likely to pool their incomes. Older cohabitors who have never been married have, on average, 78 percent less net worth than those in intact families. Furthermore, cohabiters have the lowest net worth growth of all family structures, comparable to that of widows and widowers.


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Lord I Lift Your Name On High!

Petra — the original Christian rocksters …

culture marriage and family politics, economy, etc.

The Meaning and Potential Legal Effects of North Carolina’s Proposed Marriage Amendment

As previously noted, on May 8th, voters in North Carolina will decide whether to add to the State’s constitution a provisions that provides:

“Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.”

Opponents claim that the proposed Amendment ultimately could deny domestic violence protections, child custody and visitation rights, and other legal benefits to thousands of unmarried couples in NC.  Their concerns are based on a legal analysis of the Amendment published by Maxine Eichner, a law professor at UNC School of Law and a leading academic on feminist and queer legal theory.

Campbell law professors Lynn Buzzard, William Woodruff, and Gregory Wallace have published a detailed reply to Eichner disputing the accuracy of her legal analysis and rejecting her stated concerns regarding how the Amendment might harm unmarried couples.  The Campbell professors’ purpose is to advance the public dialogue by addressing the flawed analysis of Eichner, whose misleading claims have provided the basis for the opposition’s ongoing scare campaign. The professors explain,

The reason for this paper is a narrow one. We do not endorse or oppose the proposed Amendment. There are thoughtful arguments on both sides, and we encourage a robust public debate about the Amendment. Our aim instead is to help clarify for North Carolina voters the Amendment’s legal meaning and likely effects. We believe that the Amendment debate has been distorted by concerns over certain legal consequences that are highly unlikely to occur. … We emphasize again that it is not up to us to tell anyone how to vote on the proposed Amendment. We offer this paper only as a modest attempt to explain the meaning and likely effects of the Amendment, should it pass. We believe that North Carolina voters are best served by having accurate legal information about the Amendment, so that they can properly consider the Amendment’s pros and cons and then vote their conscience.

The Campbell Law professors conclude that even if the Amendment passes, unmarried and same-sex couples still will be protected under domestic violence laws, would retain their current rights to child custody and visitation, and could continue to received public health insurance benefits.

The three professors state that because the Amendment applies to “legal unions” and not “relationships,” it bars only same-sex marriage and legal recognition of civil unions and domestic partnerships that resemble marriage unions.  The flaw in Eichner’s arguments is that she does not give the term “legal union” its proper legal effect in construing the Amendment. (Eichner admitted to me in debate that even without the “domestic legal union” clause, she still would not support a prohibition against same-sex marriage.)

The law professors’ full, detailed analysis can be found here:  The Meaning and Potential Legal Effects of North Carolina’s Proposed Marriage Amendment


Modern instrument of torture



encouragement marriage and family

Husbands and wives praying together

The living God speaks to, guides, comforts and strengthens us through prayer.  Through prayer, God is the cement that bonds a husband and wife.  The Bible instructs us to pray continually.  (1 Thes. 5:17.)  Although trite, a family that prays together, stays together.  Both within the “church” and in society at large, roughly fifty percent of all marriages end in divorce.  Those numbers within the church break down, however, upon inspection.  Amongst couples who pray together, the divorce rate plummets to less than one percent.[i]  Prayer demonstrates the power of the living God in the lives of people.  A commitment to praying together on a daily basis should be included in the wedding vows of every Christian couple.  Imagine the witness to this fractured and hurting world if over ninety-nine percent of all married Christians remained married until death intervened.  Marital prayer fosters intimacy and love with each other and with God. It demonstrates the Way to our children and invites blessing to the family.

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New advances in evolution

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Motivational Poster

Motivational Poster

Thanks to Mark Remy at Runners World blog.

encouragement theology

Now that Easter is over…

Easter Sunday has come and gone. As the sugar high wears off, we should take a chance to reflect.

What was it about?
Easter Bunny? White Crosses? Flowers? Going to church?

The more devout would answer that Jesus rose from the dead. But why?

Why did Jesus have to die?

Why would the God of the Universe submit himself to inhuman torture by one of the most cruel nations that ever existed? Why would God allow himself to be killed in one of the most barbaric and humiliating ways possible?


One of my favorite Bible passages about Jesus was written over 700 years before he was born. The prophet Isaiah wrote the following about Jesus’ suffering:

Surely he took up our pain
and bore our suffering,
yet we considered him punished by God,
stricken by him, and afflicted.
But he was pierced for our transgressions,
he was crushed for our iniquities;
the punishment that brought us peace was on him,
and by his wounds we are healed.
We all, like sheep, have gone astray,
each of us has turned to our own way;
and the LORD has laid on him
the iniquity of us all.
(Isaiah 53:4-6)

The Apostle Peter repeats this in the New Testament:

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.
(1 Peter 2:24-25)

Notice how little goodness we have to give God. We are nothing more than straying sheep.  There is nothing — absolutely nothing — that we can give to God to earn his favor.  (See also Titus 3:5)

But Jesus took all of this.  Not because he was weak, but because he was the only one who could.  All of this barbaric punishment, all of this blood and beating was meant for us. Jesus took the punishment that we deserve.

It would be just another tragedy if the story ended that Jesus died, but that is not the ending — Jesus is alive again!

That is what we celebrate at Easter — Jesus is alive!!!

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead.
(1 Corinthians 15:20-21)

marriage and family politics, economy, etc.

Marriage Amendments – NC & Surrounding States

The North Carolina Marriage Amendment is modeled after Idaho’s, as shown below.  As shown below, the North Carolina Amendment is less restrictive than Virginia’s, effectively the same as South Carolina’s and more restrictive than Tennessee’s.  In my opinion, the North Carolina Amendment is the most clear and concise as compared to our surrounding States.

North Carolina the Marriage Amendment:

Marriage between one man and one woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this State. This section does not prohibit a private party from entering into contracts with another private party; nor does this section prohibit courts from adjudicating the rights of private parties pursuant to such contracts.

Idaho Amendment (2006):

A marriage between a man and a woman is the only domestic legal union that shall be valid or recognized in this state.

[Unlike the NC version, Idaho does not expressly protect private contracts pertaining to domestic relations between same sex adults]

Virginia Amendment (2007):

Only a union between one man and one woman may be a marriage valid in or recognized by this Commonwealth and its political subdivisions. This Commonwealth and its political subdivisions shall not create or recognize a legal status for relationships of unmarried individuals that intends to approximate the design, qualities, significance, or effects of marriage. Nor shall this Commonwealth or its political subdivisions create or recognize another union, partnership, or other legal status to which is assigned the rights, benefits, obligations, qualities, or effects of marriage.

[prohibits same sex marriage, civil unions, and private contract]

South Carolina (2006):

This amendment provides that the institution of marriage in South Carolina consists only of the union between one man and one woman. No other domestic union is valid and legal. The State and its political subdivisions are prohibited from creating or recognizing any right or claim respecting any other domestic union, whatever it may be called, or from giving effect to any such right or benefit recognized in any other state or jurisdiction. However, this amendment also makes clear it does not impair rights or benefits extended by this State, or its political subdivisions not arising from other domestic unions, nor does the amendment prohibit private parties from entering into contracts or other legal instruments.

[prohibits same sex marriage and civil unions]

Tennessee (2006): 

The historical institution and legal contract solemnizing the relationship of one man and one woman shall be the only legally recognized marital contract in this state. Any policy or law or judicial interpretation, purporting to define marriage as anything other than the historical institution and legal contract between one man and one woman is contrary to the public policy of this state and shall be void and unenforceable in Tennessee. If another state or foreign jurisdiction issues a license for persons to marry and if such marriage is prohibited in this state by the provisions of this section, then the marriage shall be void and unenforceable in this state.

[prohibits same sex marriage]

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He Reigns!