Divorce is expensive and not just for those involved.
A new study by Georgia State University economist Ben Scafidi reveals that divorce and out-of-wedlock childbearing is costing American taxpayers about $112 billion a year.
The study is the first ever and was sponsored by four organizations that advocate family values. Their goal was to convince lawmakers to put more money toward state marriage-strengthening education programs.
They have a good point.
If states proactively invest in marriage programs and teach people how to have healthy marriages, it would save money in the end, or at least it might save marriages.
The study showed that single-mother households tend to have higher poverty rates, which in turn leads to the necessity for spending on welfare, health care, criminal justice and education for the children raised in those homes.
According to the Institute for American Values, Texas is third in the nation for spending related to this issue.
Texas has recently allocated money for marriage education programs.
According to stateline.org, Texas couples will have an option, starting in September, to take marriage courses and have the $60 marriage-license fee waived. This is a good incentive to get couples to consider the seriousness and commitment of marriage.
Although there is little information on the success of these programs, it is at least a step in the right direction.
Marriage is not something to be taken lightly, and the choices each person makes in marriage and childbearing is affecting taxpayers in a big way. It’s important for states to at least make marriage education an option available to couples. It gives our country an opportunity to lower the divorce rate and help better the lives of so many people.
Jillian Hutchison is a junior news-editorial journalism major from Omaha, Neb.