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The Cause of Declining Marriage Rates and Increasing Divorce Rates Among Low-income Couples

Marriage is tough under the best of circumstances, but for low-income couples traditional marital challenges are just the beginning.

A new study published in the Journal of Marriage and Family examined the marital values and standards of over 6,000 people of varying socioeconomic levels. Study results challenged the government’s assumption that a faulty view of the marriage was to blame for declining marriage rates and increasing divorce rates among the low-income population.

In fact, the study found that low-income couples held more traditional views on marriage and were less likely to approve of divorce than their higher income counterparts. Additionally, low-income respondents valued economic considerations such as secure dual-income employment more than respondents with higher income levels.

Interesting, considering the government has spent over $1 billion on special programs and initiatives designed to promote the value of marriage among low-income groups. Study researchers Dr. Thomas Trail and Dr. Benjamin Karney of the University of California Los Angeles, recommend government programs refocus their attention on helping low-income couples manage the unique social challenges they face.

Financial stress, drinking, and drug use were factors admitted by low-income respondents to negatively impact their marriages. While money may be the root of all evil, for low-income couples financial distress is often the root of destructive habits that ultimately destroy marriages.

Do you find the study results surprising?

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More on Strollerderby:

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