Can marriage reduce poverty?

Deseret News 29 Sep 2012
Since the 1960s, there has been a dramatic decline in marriages among this group of Americans, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s newly released 2011 Population Survey.

Only 70 to 75 percent of African-American women can expect to get married in their lifetime, compared to 91 percent of white women, according to research by Andrew Cherlin, professor of sociology and public policy at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

One of the most commonly cited reasons for delaying marriage by women in this group is they just can’t afford it. This has led some experts to argue that declining marriages are a result of poverty. But according to Bryan Caplan, professor of economics at George Mason University, low-income couples would be better off if they just got married. Poverty isn’t the cause of declining marriage, he claims, it is the effect of forgoing matrimony.

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