Marriage and the Economic Well-Being of Families with Children

Research Report

Marriage and the Economic Well-Being of Families with Children

A Review of the Literature
July 1, 2002

Abstract

This paper brings together a body of empirical evidence on how marriage affects the economic well-being of families with children. The paper considers the theoretical reasons marriage might enhance economic well-being, clarifies the empirical questions about the potential roles of marriage, and presents descriptive data and the evidence from empirical studies. The review deals with the impact of higher marriage propensities on incomes and wealth, of gains in marriage relative to cohabitation, of the stimulus to male earnings associated with marriage, and of the changes in economic well-being associated with entry into marriage, divorce, remarriage, and parenthood.

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