How Do Marriage, Cohabitation, and Single Parenthood Affect the Material Hardships of Families with Children?

Research Report

How Do Marriage, Cohabitation, and Single Parenthood Affect the Material Hardships of Families with Children?

July 1, 2002

Abstract

This paper examines the effect of marital and family status on the experience of material hardship, using data from the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP). Among the key indicators of hardship are the ability to meet essential expenses, housing conditions, neighborhood problems (including crime, schools, public services), and having enough resources to buy adequate amounts of food. The results indicate marriage does lower material hardship, even among households with similar incomes and demographic and educational characteristics. Moreover, the reduced hardship associated with marriage extends both to low-income and to less-educated women, despite their less promising marriage market.

To reuse content from Urban Institute, visit copyright.com, search for the publications, choose from a list of licenses, and complete the transaction.