2009 Version of unions pdf in its entirety
EDITOR W. Bradford Wilcox
ASSOCIATE EDITOR Elizabeth Marquardt
FOUNDING CO-EDITORS David Popenoe & Barbara Dafoe Whitehead
w. bradford wilcox & elizabeth marquardt
A decade ago, David Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead published the first The State of Our Unions, offering trenchant commentary on the state of marriage and family life in the United States and compelling statistical indicators tracking “the social health of marriage in America.”
The 2009 edition of The State of Our Unions makes clear that money matters for marriage. Income, employment, debt, assets, and the division of household labor all shape the quality and stability of married life in the United States. In other words, earning, spending, saving, and sharing money are integral dimensions of contemporary married life.
New research indicates that conflict over money matters predicts divorce better than other types of disagreement. Compared with disagreements over other topics, financial disagreements last longer, are more salient to couples, and generate more negative conflict tactics, such as yelling or hitting, especially among husbands.
Will the economic downturn strengthen or weaken marriage? Both marriage and divorce rates tend to fall when the economy heads south and then rise when good times return. However, the changing meaning and role of marriage in modern society has weakened this economy-family relationship in recent decades.
Recent research in evolutionary psychology, sociology, and finance suggests that many couples may be organizing their financial management in a way that does not maximize their economic well-being.
The Great Recession’s silver lining of increasing gender flexibility and equality is more likely to apply to better educated and younger Americans than to less educated older Americans. That is, young adults with a college education have the best chance of adapting to the recession’s gender revolution.