Federal Programs to Promote Marriage

May 5, 2004

Chairman Santorum, Ranking Member Breaux, and Members of the Subcommittee:

My name is Ron Haskins. I am a Senior Fellow at the Brookings Institution and a Senior Consultant at the Annie E. Casey Foundation. I am honored to be invited to talk with your committee about the case for federal programs to promote marriage. My major goal is to briefly summarize the evidence from social science research about the impact of marriage on poverty, on children’s development, and on adults. My conclusion is that there is widespread agreement among social scientists that marriage reduces poverty and helps make both children and adults happier and healthier. It is reasonable to project from these studies that if marital rates could be increased, especially among poor and minority Americans, many of the social problems that are the target of social programs under the jurisdiction of the Finance Committee would be reduced.

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