What Matters Most to Your Child: Financial Security or a Traditional Marriage?

Financial Security or a Traditional Marriage?

What’s more important to a child’s future, traditional marriage or financial security? According to NBC News, a recent analysis of U.S. census data shows that while marital status can influence a child’s well-being, financial security can play a more critical role.

What the Statistics Show

Recent data indicates (as would PA divorce lawyers attest to) that shrinking household incomes actually cause a decline in marriage rates, at least as far as the United States is concerned. This, in turn, makes for more single-parent households.

Here are some other interesting findings associated with this data:

  • In the U.S. today, 24 percent of children are living with a single mother, while 64 percent live with two parents. Compare this to 1960, when 90 percent of children lived in a two-parent household.
  • Approximately 16 million children currently receive food stamps compared to just 9 million before the Great Recession.
  • While 77 percent of children with at least one parent in the top 25 percent income bracket graduated from college by the age of 24, only 9 percent of children with a parent in the lowest income bracket graduated during the same period.

How Economic Factors Play a Role

According to Stephanie Coontz, a professor of history and family studies at Evergreen State College in Washington, couples who can afford to get married do just that. Meanwhile, women are hesitant to marry a male who holds what can be seen as an unstable or lower-wage paying job. Often, the stress of maintaining a household without financial resources has an extremely negative effect on a marriage, and can lead to a nasty divorce and/or family mediation services.

Brad Wilcox, director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, argues that divorce laws are just too easy in today’s society, and this creates a higher tolerance for single-parent households. But Kristi Williams, a professor at Ohio State University, contends that the financially disadvantaged still show the biggest change in marriage rates.

Is Marriage the Answer?

Rest assured in knowing that if marriage is not high on your list, it doesn’t necessarily mean that your children will suffer for it. Financial security appears to be more important.

When all has been said and done, it’s really up to you to decide what’s best for you and your partner. The good news is that once you make the decision, you can focus on raising a happy family. How do you currently feel about the question of traditional marriage vs. financial security?

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