Marriage: The Get-Rich-Quick Scheme

Sarah Jean Seman
|
Posted: Oct 28, 2014 6:00 PM
Marriage: The Get-Rich-Quick Scheme

Want to make up to $19,000 more annually? Try getting married. A new study by the American Enterprise Institute found that married men have significantly higher incomes than their unmarried peers.

In fact, marriage is increasingly being acknowledged as a practice of society's well-to-do class:

The retreat from marriage—a retreat that has been concentrated among lower-income Americans—plays a key role in the changing economic fortunes of American family life.

Let’s start at the beginning: from the second a child is born into this world with two parents instead of one, it has increased odds of a better education. Perhaps unsurprisingly, adults with more education are more likely than their uneducated peers to choose marriage over cohabitation.

The entire institution of marriage is an upward mobility machine; it’s all cyclical:

Growing up with both parents increases your odds of becoming highly educated, which in turn leads to higher odds of being married as an adult. Both the added education and marriage result in higher income levels. Indeed, men and women who were raised with both parents present and then go on to marry enjoy an especially high income as adults. Men and women who are currently married and were raised in an intact family enjoy an annual “family premium” in their household income that exceeds that of their unmarried peers who were raised in nonintact families by at least $42,000.

MIT economists David Autor and Melanie Wasserman actually suggested that marriage is, in fact, the key to closing America's opportunity gaps. 

So as it turns out, marrying someone 'for richer or for poorer,' might just end up making you (and your future kids) a whole lot richer.