Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Wealth and Poverty: Marriage vs Cohabitation

Married people typically earn and save more than their unmarried counterparts--cohabiting or single. ...

Research from Purdue University finds that wealth accumulation in cohabiting situations is far below what is typical in marriage, with cohabitors -- again -- more closely resembling the earnings and savings rates of singles.  The National Marriage Project reports that while the poverty rate for children living in married households is about 6 percent, it jumps to 31 percent for children with a cohabiting mother and father--much closer to the 45 percent rate for children in single parent families.

And while there might be the possibility of two earners in a cohabiting relationship, these informal partners experience less sharing and pooling of resources than married couples.  This can reduce the very real "two can live as cheaply as one" factor when the two are living more as a set of distinct ones.

Cohabitors act financially more like roommates than a team, as married couples do.  In fact, very recent research shows that among low- and moderate-income people, married couples were more likely to be able to buy a home -- and do so faster -- than cohabiting couples.  The researchers found the "stability and commitment" of marriage is what boosted a couple's increased ability to purchase a home.

Glenn T. Stanton, The Ring Makes All the Difference, pg.48, 49

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