By America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts.

We have found in our 30+ years of research on successful marriage around the world that being married has huge economic advantages. Doubters have challenged us to “prove it!” The latest proof is in the just released special report by the Heritage Foundation entitled, Marriage: America’s Greatest Weapon Against Child Poverty.

First, we digress. We take a step back for this reason – there are those amongst us who suggest that being married for the sake of economic advantage is not a good thing. We say – hog wash! People who tell us such garbage are missing the point. Being married is about economic stability. Being married is about opportunity. Being married is about taking care of each other and your children financially.

Here is the simple, unadulterated truth – being married has tons of advantages – love, companionship, children, shared responsibility, financial stability, and the like. But in the end, financial stability in the modern era may, in fact, drive almost everything else. We know this – the number one cause of arguments and discourse in a marriage is financially related. And among the principle advantages of marriage, is shared financial stability – now and in the future.

Now here are the facts. The number one economic advantage of marriage is income! According to a recent data by the U.S. Census Bureau and reported by the Heritage Foundation, the 2009 poverty rate for single parents with children in the USA was “37.1 percent.” The poverty “rate for married couples with children was “6.8 percent.” The report goes on to say that being “raised in a married family reduces a child’s probability of living in poverty by nearly 82%.” Need we say more about being married and its positive impact on our children?

The sad reality is this – in 1964, more than 9 out of 10 children born in the USA were born to married parents. In 2010 that number had dropped to 6 in 10 – a one-third drop. If you wanted to know the single greatest cause of childhood poverty, look no further.

The terrible truth of the matter is this – the number of children born out of wedlock has increased to over 40% in 2010. And make no mistake about it, most of the births of our “out of wedlock” children have come to women who have a high school degree or less – those women who have the most difficult time going it alone in the world – those who are most likely to raise their children in poverty.

Here’s the bottom line: the huge increases in child poverty are twofold – out of wedlock childbearing and increases in single parenthood. Think about it – is this a desirable outcome for our children? Is it fair and appropriate that our children are born into poverty because of the bad choices of their mothers and fathers? We think not!

According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, some 71% of poor families with children are not married. So we ask this simple question – why would we continue to have children out of wedlock? What favors are we doing for our children? Why do we want to have children born in poverty? Why would we not want our children to be born out of poverty and with a reasonable chance of success?

Here is one undeniable fact – children born of married women who have some level of education beyond high school are much more likely to be born out of poverty. It is clear based on our review of the available data – being married is far more important to a child’s welfare than being a high school graduate! When it comes to child welfare, when it comes to combating poverty, get married!!

Now, on to another important fact in the battle for marriage. Income, income, income!

According to recent statistics, more than HALF of single mother families have an annual income of less than $25,000 per year. The median income for single mother families is also about $25,000. But imagine this – the median family income for married couple families is nearly $78,000 – more than THREE TIMES the income of single mother families!

Unbelievably, 41% of single-mother families live in poverty compared to only 9% for married-couple families – FOUR times as many! Moreover, 40% of single mothers are poor and nearly two-thirds of single mothers receive Food Stamps.

In the final analysis, married couples in the USA are no longer a majority according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In our estimation, that is a sad situation. This drop in marriage explains more than any other phenomenon, the substantial increases in child poverty and in the significant income disparity of married versus unmarried individuals.

In the end, the choice is yours. Do you want your children to live in poverty? Do you want to live in poverty yourself? Do you like the income difference between being married or not?

Here’s the deal – we do not advocate marriage for the sake of marriage, for eliminating poverty, or to address income disparity. We DO advocate marriage for the stability it provides our children, for the income stability it provides our families, and for the many positive opportunities marriage provides, in general, for all of us.

In love and marriage the simple things matter.

By Dr. Charles D. Schmitz and Dr. Elizabeth A. Schmitz

For marriage advice and hundreds of practical tips, get the Doctor’s best-selling and multiple-award winning book Building a Love that Lasts : The Seven Surprising Secrets of Successful Marriage (Jossey-Bass/Wiley) Available wherever books are sold.
Winner of the INDIE Book Awards GOLD Medal for Best Relationship Book
Winner of the Mom’s Choice Awards GOLD Medal for Most Outstanding Relationships and Marriage Book

Author's Bio: 

As America’s #1 Love and Marriage Experts and award-winning authors, Drs. Charles and Elizabeth Schmitz help international audiences answer questions about love, marriage and relationships. With over 30 years of research on love and successful marriage across six continents of the world and their own 46-year marriage, the Doctors know what makes relationships work.

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