Valentine's Day News Tip: Advantages of Marriage Mostly For Well-Off

The concentration of marriage in the middle to upper classes has made it an "increasingly powerful tool of perpetuating inequality," says professor Christina Gibson-Davis

Christina Gibson-Davis, associate professor of public policy, sociology, psychology and neuroscience. Gibson-Davis is an expert on the causes and consequences of marriage among low-income parents and the health and well-being of low-income children. Quotes:"Research suggests that poor and low-income people value marriage highly, so highly in fact that they do not think they are ready for it. Many believe that in order to marry, one must be economically secure, and so they put off marriage until they have achieved financial stability. "Moreover, research has shown that lower-income individuals do not believe that childbearing is associated with the same economic threshold as marriage. Individuals have children, even if they do not have a high level of financial resources, but delay marriage until they feel more economically secure."As marriage becomes concentrated among individuals with high levels of education and income, any potential benefits are given to those who already have high levels of advantage. Those who could potentially benefit the most from marriage -- from the economies of scale and accumulation of wealth that has been associated with marriage -- are shut out from those benefits. "Because of the concentration of marriage in the middle to upper classes, marriage becomes an increasingly powerful tool of perpetuating inequality."