Harvard Economist: "A Jobless, Marriageless Recovery is Not Something to Celebrate."


Edward Glaeser is a very distinguished young professor of economics at Harvard University. He writes mostly about urban inequality. But in his Bloomberg column he took the time to lay out how marriage, fertility, and economic growth are related:

... America’s economy has long benefited from its well- functioning labor markets. Our high marriage and fertility rates boost demand for housing, and all its associated expenditures, and steady population growth makes it far easier to pay for social programs, such as Social Security and Medicare. A jobless, marriageless recovery is not something to celebrate.

In the short run, the marriage drop means fewer households being formed -- only 378,000 from 2008 to 2010; this, in turn, keeps the housing market down. If new households were still forming at the 2005 rate of 1.3 million per year, our excess housing inventory would probably go away, and the construction industry would likely be back to normal in no time.