In this testimony presented to the District of Columbia Subcommittee of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations on October 6, 2005, a case is made for the development of federal programs to promote marriage and for supporting a proposal by Senator Brownback for Marriage Development Accounts and for Pre-Marriage Development Accounts. It begins by summarizing evidence from social science research about the impact of marriage on poverty and on children's development. The decline of marriage rates, the rise of divorce rates, and the increase in nonmarital births is noted, as well as the rapidly increasing percentage of the nation's children living in single-parent families. The link between poverty and single parenthood is explored, and the power of marriage as a means of reducing poverty is explained. Findings from studies are shared that show married families with two biological parents have lower rates of poverty and material hardship, even after controlling for other factors such as education and race, than any other type of families including single parents and cohabiting parents. A three-part strategy is proposed for congressional marriage promotion: jaw-boning to focus the public's attention on the importance of family composition to the nation's general welfare, continuing the already strong record of creating programs to reduce nonmarital births, and creating programs with the explicit goal of promoting healthy marriages. 25 references.
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Testimony of Ron Haskins, Senior Fellow, Brookings Institution and Senior Consultant, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Before the District of Columbia Subcommittee of the Committee on AppropriationsU.S. Senate, October 6, 2005.