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Institute for American Values Institute for Marriage and Public Policy - page 3 / 44

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The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing First-Ever Estimates for the Nation and All Fifty States

Contents

Project Advisors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Executive Summary . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I.

Why

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II. How Might Marriage Affect Taxpayers? Empirical Literature Review How Much Does Marriage Reduce Poverty? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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Does Family Fragmentation Increase Crime? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11

  • III.

    Is the Methodology Used in This Estimate Reasonable? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12 What Costs Are Associated with Means-Tested Government Programs? . . .13 What Costs Are Associated with the Justice System? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16 How Are Foregone Tax Revenues Estimated? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

  • IV.

    What Is the Total Estimated Cost of Family Fragmentation? . . . . . . . . . . . . .17

V. What Are the Policy Implications? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20 Conclusion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .20

Appendix A: Testing the Analysis: Is the Estimate of $112 Billion Too High or Too Low? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .22

Appendix B: Explaining the Methodology for State-Specific Costs . . . . . . . . . . .31 Tables

Table 1: U.S. Children Residing in Two-Parent Families . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Table 2: Percent of U.S. Children in a Single-Parent Household that Has... .7 Table 3: Persons and Children Lifted out of Poverty via Marriage . . . . . . .14 Table 4: Household Income and Usage of Food Stamps . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14 Table 5: Household Income and Usage of Cash Assistance . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Table 6: Household Income and Usage of Medicaid . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .15 Table 7: Estimated Costs of Family Fragmentation for U.S. Taxpayers . . . .18 Table A.1: Sub-Calculations of State and Federal Taxpayer Costs . . . . . . .32 Notes to Table A.1 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33 Table A.2: Sub-Calculations for EITC and Justice System Estimates . . . . . .35 Table A.3: Total Poverty and Family Structure by State . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36 Table A.4: Child Poverty and Family Structure by State . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37 Table A.5: Estimates of State and Local Taxpayer Costs of Family Fragmentation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38

Endnotes . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39

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