Family structure is one of the most significant, though oft-overlooked, factors that affect the economic fortunes of Americans. A new study from AEI titled “For Richer or Poorer” documents the relationships between family patterns and economic well-being in America and shows how radically it can affect income.
Here are seven figures you should know from the study:
1. The growth in median income of families with children would be 44 percent higher if the United States enjoyed 1980 levels of married parenthood today.
2. At least 32 percent of the growth in family-income inequality since 1979 among families with children and 37 percent of the decline in men’s employment rates during that time can be linked to the decreasing number of Americans who form and maintain stable, married families.
3. Young men and women from intact families enjoy an annual “intact-family premium” that amounts to $6,500 and $4,700, respectively, over the incomes of their peers from single-parent families.
4. Men enjoy a marriage premium of at least $15,900 per year in their individual income compared to their single peers.
5. Black men enjoy a marriage premium of at least $12,500 in their individual income compared to their single peers.
6. Men with a high-school degree or less enjoy a marriage premium of at least $17,000 compared to their single peers.
7. Men and women who are currently married and were raised in an intact family enjoy an annual “family premium” in their household income that exceeds that of their unmarried peers who were raised in nonintact families by at least $42,000.