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Marriage and Child Wellbeing.

Publication Year: 
Corporate Author: 
Princeton University.
Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
Brookings Institution.
Journal Special Issue
Page Count: 

To provide our readers with a context for understanding the debate over marriage, we selected several central topics and invited some of the country's leading scholars to share their expertise. Two authors were asked to examine recent economic, demographic, and social developments that have affected marriage and to comment on the causes and consequences of these trends. A second group of authors was asked to review the social science research on the economic, social, emotional, and cognitive benefits of marriage for adults and children. They also were asked whether these benefits extend to children raised by same-sex parents. The literature on the benefits of heterosexual marriage is vast, so the authors were asked to give their assessments of the very best research in these areas. In contrast, data on the benefits to children of same-sex marriage are quite limited. Here, we asked the authors to draw on theory as well as empirical evidence to make their case. One notable feature of the many demographic changes over the past half-century is the increasing concentration of single motherhood, in particular never-married motherhood, among low-income women. Thus we asked a third pair of authors to focus explicitly on low-income single mothers and to examine the barriers to marriage facing this group. Finally, we asked two groups of authors to examine two marriage proposals now being discussed by state and federal policymakers: the Bush marriage-promotion initiative and efforts to reduce the marriage penalties in the tax and transfer system. (Author abstract)

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