How the Marriage Penalty Is Hurting Low Income Communities

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Heritage Explains

How the Marriage Penalty Is Hurting Low Income Communities

Key Takeaways

The incentive structure of many federal welfare programs discourages single mothers from marrying the employed fathers of their children.

The breakdown of marriage is one of the greatest drivers of child poverty.

Policymakers should eliminate the penalties for marriage in the welfare system.

80 %

The rate at which marriage reduces the probability of child poverty. 

This week on the Heritage Explains podcast, Mimi Teixeira, a graduate fellow in welfare policy at The Heritage Foundation, talks about marriage penalties and the unintended consequences they have on a low income communities. 

"Part of the problem with single parent homes is the amount of instability the child will experience. So by the time the child is three, if they are in a single parent or unmarried parent household, there is a 50 percent chance that their household status has already changed," says Teixeira. "So that means that there is other men coming in and out of the home. They might have switched homes and are living with other people. There is a ton of instability in their lives."

Show Notes: Report: Understanding the Hidden $1.1 Trillion Welfare System and How to Reform It and Solutions 2018 on Welfare