Plenary Panel: Marriage, Economics, and Poverty

Matters got technical in our final Thursday morning plenary session. Pat Fagan drew the connection between religious worship and successful societies. Study after study showed that “worship impacts chastity, chastity impacts marriage, marriage impacts personal well-being, and personal well-being impacts society.”

Jason Carroll analyzed more research on marriage trends and articulated the argument for marriage. He said the median age of marriage is higher than the median age of child-bearing – which means that marriage is not just delayed, but re-sequenced. He outlined why this delay in marriage paradoxically leaves individuals less prepared for marriage, not more.

Bradford Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project, picked up right where Dr. Carroll left off. He addressed why these changes in marriage are devastating economically. The presented studies showed family structure is the best indicator of family income, the American dream, and child poverty. This affects more than personal economic well-being; it is more far-reaching. “There is a connection between marriage and societal prosperity.”