Research and Analysis on the Health of Marriage and Family in America

  • Facilitating Forever

    Help Couples Form and Sustain Healthy Relationships and Enduring Marriages

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  • Knot Yet:

    The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America

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  • 2012 State of Our Unions

    The President’s Marriage Agenda for the Forgotten Sixty Percent

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    2012 SOOU-SlideGraphic
  • The Date Night Opportunity

    What Does Couple Time Tell Us About the Potential Value of Date Nights?

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  • When Baby Makes Three

    How Parenthood Makes Life Meaningful and How Marriage Makes Parenthood Bearable

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Latest Releases More reports...

Facilitating Forever:

A Feasible Public Policy Agenda to Help Couples Form and Sustain Healthy Relationships and Enduring Marriages

High levels of divorce, cohabitation, and fragile unions, especially among the less educated in the United States, mean that unprecedented numbers of children are growing up in families without two parents in a healthy, stable relationship. This family instability poses increased risks to children’s well-being and healthy development.

This report by Alan J. Hawkins, Professor of Family Life at Brigham Young University and independent writer Betsy VanDenBerghe documents federal and state policy experiments designed to help couples form and sustain healthy relationships and enduring marriages. It reviews the research to date on how effective these efforts have been and responds to legitimate concerns about them. The authors specifically advocate the following policies:

  1. Transferring direction of healthy marriages and relationships initiatives (HMRIs) from the federal government to states
  2. Downsizing the current policy that awards federal grants to a variety of community organizations delivering educational services and reallocating most of those funds to reimburse states
  3. Supplementing TANF funds by setting aside $10-20 of each marriage license fee
  4. Using state-directed funds to support a strategic set of relationship education services delivered by community organizations targeted primarily to young at-risk individuals and couples
Facilitating Forever Cover

Knot Yet:

The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage In America

What does the rising marriage age mean for twentysomething women, men, and families?

One of the most important social developments of our time is the recent rise in age at first marriage, which now stands at 27 for women and 29 for men–a historic high. Delayed marriage in America has helped to bring the divorce rate down since 1980 and increased the economic fortunes of college-educated women, according to Knot Yet: The Benefits and Costs of Delayed Marriage in America, a new report from the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, and the RELATE Institute. But another important consequence of delayed marriage is that most Americans without college degrees now have their first child before they marry. By contrast, the vast majority of college-educated men and women still put childbearing after marriage. Knot Yet explores the causes and consequences of this revolution in family life, especially the ways that delayed marriage is connected to the welfare of twentysomethings, their children, and the nation as a whole.

Report Website


2012 State of Our Unions:

The President's Marriage Agenda for the Forgotten Sixty Percent

This new report from the National Marriage Project and the Institute for American Values outlines the present marriage and family crisis in the nation, and makes several policy suggestions for the President and Congress.

These policy suggestions include: ending the marriage penalty, increasing the child tax credit, helping young men become marriageable men, ending anonymous fatherhood, a “Second Chances Act,” requiring premarital education for men and women forming stepfamilies, engaging Hollywood and the mass media, and launching community-oriented campaigns about the benefits of marriage.

The report is coauthored by Elizabeth Marquardt, Brad Wilcox, David Blankenhorn, Robert I. Lerman and Linda Malone-Colon.

2012 SOOU Cover

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