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Marriage and State-level Economic Outcomes


Past research has examined various state-level measures that predict state economic growth and other economic and social indicators. This research has largely ignored the potential role of family structure in contributing to state-level outcomes, despite the extensive literature on links between family structure and economic outcomes at the individual level. We estimated a state-level panel model and found that both the proportion of adults and the proportion of parents who are married are strongly related to important state-level economic outcomes, including economic growth, median household income, median personal income, and poverty.

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  1. Amato et al. (2015) is one notable example of a paper that includes a measure of family structure in a state-level analysis, though the outcomes they examine are 4th and 8th grade test scores, rather than direct economic outcomes.

  2. We use median household income rather than median family income due to problems caused by inability to identify cohabiting families (who actually share income) in early years in our panel.

  3. All dollar ($) values provided are in USD.


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This paper was funded by a grant from the Home Economics Project of the American Enterprise Institute and the Institute for Family Studies.

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Correspondence to Joseph Price.

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Lerman, R.I., Price, J., Shumway, A. et al. Marriage and State-level Economic Outcomes. J Fam Econ Iss 39, 66–72 (2018).

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