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Appendix B: Explaining the Methodology for State-Specific Costs

This appendix describes the methodology used to estimate state-specific tax- payer costs of family fragmentation. These estimates include costs to state and local taxpayers.

The methods used to create the state-specific estimates are similar to the methods employed to create the national estimate described in the body of this report. For the state-specific estimates, we used the 2006 Current Population Survey to estimate the state-specific reductions in total poverty and child poverty that would result from marriage. These estimates are shown in the last columns of tables A.3 and A.4 and are based on assumptions 1–3 described on page 13. These tables include the underlying data used as well as other information that reveal how total and child poverty fall disproportionately on unmarried households, and on households headed by single females in particular.

Table A.5 shows the components and the total state and local taxpayer costs of fam- ily fragmentation for each state. These taxpayer costs include foregone state and local tax revenue and costs to the justice system, TANF, Medicaid, SCHIP, and child welfare programs. State-specific data for the overall costs of these programs come from the sources listed in the “Notes to Table A.1” on page 33.

State-specific cost estimates, however, were not available for costs to the justice system, and foregone earnings are not estimated at the state level. To make state- specific estimates for these two line items, we assume that the proportion of tax- payer costs that accrues to a given state is equal to the proportion of poverty caused by family fragmentation in the state. For example, using the information in table A.3, we calculate that 10.2 percent of all childhood poverty in the U.S. that is due to family fragmentation occurs in the state of California. Thus, 10.2 per- cent of the increase in national income that comes from reducing childhood poverty via marriage is assigned to California. Correspondingly, 10.2 percent of the reduction in state and local justice costs that results from marriage are also assigned to California.56

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