Challenges Facing Low-Income Individuals and Families in Today’s Economy

In recent years, the retreat from marriage is concentrated among Americans who do not have college degrees. This means fewer lower-income Americans are living in stable, married homes. This retreat from marriage makes poverty more common and income inequality more extreme than they would otherwise be, and it limits economic opportunity. Men, women, and children from lower-income communities are most affected by the social and economic consequences of this retreat. The retreat from marriage is rooted in economic, policy, and cultural changes. Thus, public and private efforts to renew marriage and family life should be broadly gauged, seeking to strengthen the economic, policy, and cultural foundations of family life for the twenty-first century. Such efforts should focus on the families most affected by the retreat from marriage, namely, lower-income families.

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