Broken Marriages Draining State Tax Coffers


Via Deseret News:

Utah taxpayers spend about $276 million on the effects of divorce and out-of-wedlock childbirth. But while there are effective tools to strengthen marriage and families, those who statistically need help most are the least likely to seek it out, experts say.

"Those who are younger, less educated and less religious feel that such education is not important. But they are more apt to divorce, as well," said Melanie Reese, coordinator for the Utah Healthy Marriage Initiative, which is housed in the Utah Department of Workforce Services.

... The group said children are particularly impacted by marriage failure, with "potential risks" that include poverty, mental illness, physical illness, infant mortality, lower educational attainment, juvenile delinquency, behavior problems, criminal activity as adults and early unwed parenthood. Reese notes that research shows children who live with both biological parents do better socially than peers in other family structures.

Here's a graphic that accompanies the story:


  1. Mike Brooks
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 12:51 pm | Permalink

    It's not clear where these numbers are coming from, but I would bet that they do not include the costs associated with the perpetutation of a non-married culture. That is, e.g., five kids born in an unmarried or divorced household are five more memebrs of society who are likely to have children out of wedlock or be in failed marriages. Good married role models: a unified mom and dad are essential to creating offspring who are likely to enter into stable male-female relationships etc.... through the generations.

  2. marriedmamaof5
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    "No other success can compensate for failure in the home." D.O.M.

  3. Kevin J.
    Posted May 5, 2011 at 7:01 pm | Permalink

    This post makes a very important point.

    However, there are also "marriage penalties" in systems like Medicaid which encourage people to stay unmarried. For instance, "shotgun" weddings where the fiance is pregnant won't take place if marrying will make her ineligible for Medicaid.

    "Shotgun" weddings have their problems too, but perhaps we should loosen eligibility requirements if they discourage marriage.

  4. Gothelittle
    Posted May 6, 2011 at 7:27 am | Permalink

    Kevin, you are dead on and I'm glad you brought up that issue.

    At least some of the costs of broken/non-existent marriages to society are 'self-inflicted' by government programs that, seeking to replace the father, wind up replacing the father!

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