The Marriage Index: A Proposal to Establish Leading Marriage Indicators

The Marriage Index: A Proposal to Establish Leading Marriage Indicators

Institute for American Values and The National Center on African American Marriages and Parenting

Institute for American Values, 2009 - 36 pages

What helps us the most to thrive, as individuals and as a society? Money or marriage? Assets or relationships? Here's what we know: A large body of research suggests that the status of our marriages influences our well-being at least as much as the status of our finances. But consider this puzzle. Why do we so carefully measure and widely publicize our leading economic indicators, and do everything we can to improve them, while rarely bothering to measure our leading marriage indicators, or try to do anything as a society to improve them? How odd. This situation should change. And now it can change. This report presents a set of Leading Marriage Indicators – fundamental, well-chosen measurements that accurately reveal the direction and overall health of marriage as a U.S. social institution carefully developed by a bipartisan group of scholars and leaders.

Subject: Marriage

More by: Institute for American Values and The National Center on African American Marriages and Parenting

Additional Information

Why do we so carefully measure and widely publicize leading U.S. economic indicators, and do everything we can to improve them, while rarely bothering to measure our leading marriage indicators, or try to do anything as a society to improve them? Why is there is no equivalent effort to focus on marriage?

We don't have, as in the case of the economy, generally accepted leading measurements for marriage, or even much of a sense that such measurements would truly matter. As a result, to whatever degree we do have them, they actually don't matter much.

But the U.S. needs a Marriage Index, because unless we know where we are, and why that matters, we can't know where to go; because no social progress is possible without widely shared, trackable goals; because for any society that cares about its future, leading marriage indicators are as important as leading economic indicators.

The absence of a clear, compelling, and commonly-agreed upon set of leading marriage indicators prevents us from focusing clearly on the health of marriage in America. Consequently, policy makers and opinion leaders rarely seem to care about marriage trends, or even notice them.

Now, this situation can change. A bipartisan group of scholars and leaders has now carefully developed a set of leading marriage indicators – fundamental, well-chosen measurements that accurately reveal the direction and overall health of marriage as a U.S. social institution.

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