Marriage And Income Inequality

With Guest Host Meghna Chakrabarti.

How income inequality is shaping marriage in America in ways that will make the country even less equal.

A couple gets married in front of family and friends in this 2009 photo. (Julian Thomas / Flickr)

A couple gets married in front of family and friends in this 2009 photo. (Julian Thomas / Flickr)

You’ve heard the stat: nearly half of all marriages fail. You’ve also heard the pat, reductive reasoning why: moral decline! some say. female empowerment ! say others. But there’s new thinking about what’s driving the erosion of marriage in America. It could be: income inequality. Have declining wages and lost opportunities created a world where married two-parent families may be a luxury only the most prosperous Americans can afford?  This hour, On Point: income inequality, marriage, and the future of the American family.


June Carbone, chair in law, science and technology at the University of Minnesota Law School. Co-author, with Naomi Cahn, of “Marriage Markets”: How Inequality is Remaking the American Family.” Also co-author of “Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture.”

Naomi Cahn, professor at George Washington University Law School. Co-author, with June Carbone, of “Marriage Markets”: How Inequality is Remaking the American Family.” Also co-author of “Red Families v. Blue Families: Legal Polarization and the Creation of Culture.” (@NaomiCahn)

Kevin Maillard, professor of law at the Syracuse University College of Law. Co-editor of “Loving v. Virginia in a Post-Racial World.” (@noblemaillard)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: Book Review: ‘Marriage Markets’ by June Carbone and Naomi Cahn — “Forget the gender gap. The fundamental divide in the United States today runs along the lines of class and marriage. College-educated Americans and their children reap the benefits of comparatively stable, happy marriages, while less-educated Americans—especially the poor and the working-class—are more likely to struggle with family lives marked by discord and marital instability.”

Boston Globe: Millennials, reject timely marriage at your own risk — “Millennials aren’t getting married either. The percentage who will be unmarried by the time they hit age 40 could be as high as 30 percent, predicts the study. Of course, that still means 70 percent will get married, but that figure is well below the marriage rates for early baby boomers (91 percent), late boomers (87 percent), and Gen Xers (82 percent). “

Magggie Gallagher: Marriage Markets — “Marriage is a two-gender problem. How do we craft a script about sex, gender, parenting and marriage that strikes both men and women as a good deal and as a social ideal?  Then how do we make sure our economic, political and legal structures support and reinforce that script?”

Read An Excerpt Of “Marriage Markets” By June Carbone and Naomi Cahn

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