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Marriage Public Policy. Why Public Officials Should Support Marriage. By James E. Sheridan. Single vs. Married Men.

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marriage public policy

MarriagePublic Policy

Why Public Officials Should

Support Marriage

By James E. Sheridan

single vs married men
Single vs. Married Men

“Single men who are heading toward marriage reduce their drinking up to a year before the ceremony, so that although they start with the same heavy drinking patterns as their friends who stay single, by the time they marry they drink much less than they did a year earlier….

“Apparently young men’s values change as they move from bachelors to husbands, with the change taking place gradually as they develop a closer relationship with the woman they will marry.”

(The Case For Marriage, Waite and Gallagher)

single vs married men 2
Single vs. Married Men (2)

“Young men who were light drinkers, moderate drinkers and heavy drinkers prior to marrying, all drink less after they marry than they did before (Bachman, Wadsworth, O’Malley, Honson, and Schulenberg, 1997; Miller-Tutzauer et al., 1991). This evidence says…that marriage causes these changes in men’s behavior. Getting married moves men away from destructive and unhealthy drinking behavior and towards moderation or abstinence.” (The Case For Marriage, Waite and Gallagher)

single vs married men 3
Single vs. Married Men (3)

And, it’s not just alcohol. “Both young men and women smoked less,…and snorted less cocaine,” during the year before marriage. Marijuana use, which tends to drop after high school anyway, drops 2 to 3 times more rapidly for those who marry compared to those who do not.

(The Case For Marriage, Waite and Gallagher)

married and engaged couples are less likely to be violent
Married and Engaged Couples are Less Likely to be Violent
  • 3-4% of married couples
  • 11-12% of engaged cohabitors
  • 13-15% of “disengaged” cohabitors

Tabulations from the National Survey of Families and Households, 1987-88

dr linda waite
Dr. Linda Waite:

“The research clearly shows that, outside of hying thee to a nunnery, the safest place for a woman is inside marriage.”

(The Case For Marriage, Waite and Gallagher, page 152)

married women are safer
Married Women are Safer

Single and divorced women:

  • 4-5 times more likely to be victims of crimes of violence.
  • 10 times more likely to be raped
  • 3 times more likely to be victims of aggravated assault than wives.

(The Case For Marriage, Waite and Gallagher , page 152)

married men are safer
Married Men are Safer

Bachelors are 4 times more likely to be victims of crimes of violence than husbands.

(The Case For Marriage, Waite and Gallagher, page 152)

fatal abuse of children in canadian study
Fatal Abuse of Children in Canadian study:

“Children two years of age and younger are 70 to 100 times more likely to be killed at the hands of their stepparents than by their biological parents. (Younger children, because of their small size, are much more vulnerable.)

The Heritage Foundation, Backgrounder

fatal abuse of children in british study
Fatal Abuse of Childrenin British study:

“The data from Britain predict a smaller risk, but this research is not as rigorous as the Canadian study. The British study reports that fatal abuse of children of all ages occurs three times more frequently in stepfamilies than in intact married families.”

The Heritage Foundation, Backgrounder

neglected children
Neglected Children

“Neglect of children…is twice as high among separated and divorced parents.”

The Heritage Foundation, Backgrounder

rate of sexual abuse of girls
Rate of Sexual Abuseof Girls

“The rate of sexual abuse of girls by their stepfathers is at least six or seven times higher…than sexual abuse of daughters by their biological fathers who remain in intact families.”

The Heritage Foundation, Backgrounder

families in the u s where the father is absent make up
Families in the U.S. where the father is absent make up:
  • 63% of youth suicides
  • 71% of all high school dropouts
  • 75% of all adolescent substance abuse patients
  • 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions.

The Critical Importance Of Responsible Fatherhood, Murray Davis, Chairman, Dad’s of Michigan, to the Joint House Committee Hearings, November 5, 2001, Detroit, Michigan

families in the u s where the father is absent make up1
Families in the U.S. where the father is absent make up:
  • 85% of all persons incarcerated in prisons
  • 85% of children exhibiting behavior disorders
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children

The Critical Importance Of Responsible Fatherhood, Murray Davis, Chairman, Dad’s of Michigan, to the Joint House Committee Hearings, November 5, 2001, Detroit, Michigan

absent biological father and criminal behavior
Absent Biological FatherAnd Criminal Behavior

“A (1998) U.S. longitudinal study which tracked over 6,400 boys over a period of 20 years (well into their adult years) found that children without biological fathers in the home are roughly three times more likely to commit a crime that leads to incarceration than are children from intact families.”

The Heritage Foundation, Backgrounder, page 6

impact on daughters
Impact on Daughters

“Daughters raised outside of intact marriages are approximately three times more likely to end up young, unwed mothers than are children whose parents married and stayed married.”

Why Marriage Matters, page 3

dr judith wallerstein
Dr. Judith Wallerstein:

“Early sex was very common among girls in the divorced families and has been described in several national studies. In our study, one in five had her first sexual experience before the age of 14. Over half were sexually active with multiple partners during their high school years. In the comparison group, the great majority of girls postponed sex until the last year of high school or their early years of college.”

The Unexpected Legacy of Divorce, Judith Wallerstein, PhD, p. 189

children with married parents do better
Children with Married ParentsDo Better
  • Half as likely to drop out of high school
  • More likely to go to college & to graduate
  • Half as likely to have a teen birth
  • Less likely to have emotional problems
children in poverty
Children in Poverty

Children 0-6 Years Old Living in Poverty:

Overall 1 in 10 live in poverty

Living in 1 in 3 live in poverty

Female-headed

Households

Environmental Scan of Lenawee County (MI), Lenawee United Way and Volunteer Center, 2003

is poverty a selection effect
Is Povertya “Selection Effect”?

Women with a first premarital pregnancy leading to birth experienced a poverty rate of…

Those with “shotgun” weddings 20%

Those who did not marry 47%

(CLASP Policy Brief, Couples and Marriage Series, Brief No. 3, P. 5)

selection effect 2
“Selection Effect” (2)

Divorce and unmarried childbearing increase poverty for both children and mothers.

“Child poverty rates are very high primarily because of growth of single-parent families.”

selection effect 3
“Selection Effect” (3)

“When parents fail to marry and stay married, children are more likely to experience deep and persistent poverty, even after controlling for race and family background.

selection effect 4
“Selection Effect” (4)

The majority of children who grow up outside of intact married families experience at least one year of dire poverty (family incomes less than half the official poverty threshold). Divorce as well as unmarried childbearing plays a role: Between one-fifth and one-third of divorcing women end up in poverty following the divorce.”

Why Marriage Matters, page 9

graduation rate nationally
Graduation Rate(Nationally)

High School 88%

4 Years of College 25.6%

Environmental Scan of Lenawee County (MI), Lenawee United Way and Volunteer Center, 2003, page 15

graduation rates 2
Graduation Rates (2)

Studies have linked graduation rates to the number of times a child moves while attending school, with one move decreasing the average graduation rate to 68%, two moves to 56%, and three moves to 30%.

Environmental Scan of Lenawee County (MI), Lenawee United Way and Volunteer Center, 2003, page 15

graduation rates linked to household moves
Graduation Rates Linkedto Household Moves

The number of times a child moves while attending school decreases the graduation rate from high school:

Number of MovesRate Reduces To

1 68%

2 56%

3 30%

Environmental Scan of Lenawee County (MI), Lenawee United Way and Volunteer Center, 2003, page 15

life expectancy of adult children of divorce
Life Expectancy ofAdult Children of Divorce
  • The parents’ divorce lowered the life expectancy of the adult children by 4 years.
  • “Forty-year-olds from divorced homes were three times as likely to dire from all causes as forty-year-olds whose parents stayed married.”

(The Case For Marriage, Waite and Gallagher)

adult children from divorced parents are
Adult Children fromDivorced Parents are:
  • 70% more likely to have circulatory problems
  • 56% more likely to show signs of mental illness
  • 27% more likely to report chronic aches and pains
  • 26% more likely to rate their overall health as poor

(The Case For Marriage, Waite and Gallagher)

stability in children s lives by family makeup
Stability in Children’s LivesBy Family Makeup

Children living with both biological parents at birth compared to the percent of children who will not be living with biological parents after…

1 Year5 Years10 Years

Cohabiting Parents 15% 50% 66%

Married Parents 4% 15% 33%

(The Case For Marriage, Waite and Gallagher)

number of alcohol related problems
Number of Alcohol-Related Problems

SOURCE: Umberson (1987) Figure 5. Reports of Problem Drinking in the Past Year, by Marital Status and Sex

physical aggression during arguments nsfh 1987 1988
Physical Aggression DuringArguments(NSFH 1987-1988)

Net of the effect of education, gender of respondent, age, race, and ethnicity

slide32
In Britain, the Serious Abuse of Children in Stepfamilies Was Six Times More Likely than for Children of Intact Married Families

Comparative Risk Ratios for Serious Abuse, 1982-1988

Note: No U.S. data by family structure availableSource: Robert Whelian, Broken Homes and Battered Children, 1994.

slide33
In Wisconsin, Juvenile Incarceration Rates for Children of Divorced Parents are 12 TimesHigher than for Children in Two-Parent Families

Juvenile Incarceration Rate, Two-Parent Family Rate = 1

Source: Heritage calculations, based on 1993 data from Wisconsin Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Bureau of the Census, Current Population Survey.

percent of families with children living in poverty by family structure
Percent of Families with ChildrenLiving in Poverty by Family Structure

Source: Heritage Center for Data Analysis calculations based on data from 1995 Survey of Consumer Finance, Federal Reserve Board.

poverty rates
Poverty Rates

SOURCE: McLanahan and Sandefur (1994:82) Figure 14. Percentages of Children in Poverty at Age 16, by Race and Family Structure

impact of divorce on income of families with children
Impact of Divorce on Incomeof Families with Children

1993 Average Annual Income

Source: Mary E. Corcoran and Ajay Chaudray, “The Dynamics of Childhood Poverty,” Future of Children, 1997.

median household wealth of persons aged 51 61 by marital status
Median Household Wealth ofPersons Aged 51-61, by Marital Status

1993 Household Capital Wealth

Source: James P. Smith, Marriage, Assets and Savings, Rand Corporation, 1995.

percentages of dropouts
Percentages of Dropouts

SOURCE: McLanahan and Sandefur (1994:41) Figure 13. Percentages of Adult Children Who Did Not Complete High School by Childhood Family Structure

cohabitation rates of young adults by parents marital status
Cohabitation Rates of Young Adults by Parents’ Marital Status

Percent Ever Cohabited

Age of Young Adults

Source: Paul Amato and Alan Booth, A Generation at Risk, 1997, p. 112.

married women live longer
Married Women Live Longer

Probability of Survival

Age

Lillard, L.A., & Waite, L.J. (1995). “Til Death Do Us Part: Marital Disruption and Morality.” American Journal of Sociology, 100, 1131-1156

so do married men
So Do Married Men

Probability of Survival

Age

Lillard, L.A., & Waite, L.J. (1995). “Til Death Do Us Part: Marital Disruption and Morality.” American Journal of Sociology, 100, 1131-1156