Children from intact families are more likely to be competitive in today's economy because their parents tend to spend more money on their education. This is one fact among many, writes W. Bradford Wilcox, professor of sociology at the University of Virginia, suggesting that the decline of the American family has paralleled, and in part caused, the lowering of economic mobility in the past few decades. 

Since 1980, the percentage of married-parent families has decreased from seventy-eight percent to sixty-six percent in 2012. To make matters worse, this hesitancy to marry exists in greater proportion among individuals without a college education. This means that communities already at an economic disadvantage due to lower education rates also suffer from family instability and single parenthood.

Indeed men and women from intact or stepparent families are five and twelve percent less likely, respectively, to have children before marriage. Men and women raised in intact families led by their biological or adoptive parents also tend to work more hours, meaning more job experience and higher income levels. 

Certainly one function of marriage as a social norm is the application of rules that regulate sex. Without these kinds of regulations, humans are quite likely to face life-long torment, argues Lionel Tiger, professor of anthropology at Rutgers University, in his Big Think interview:

Read more at the National Review

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