President Trump’s promise to revive the U.S. manufacturing sector could have an unintended consequence: stimulating a marriage boom.
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The president met with U.S. manufacturing CEOs at the White House on Thursday and reiterated his pledge to institute economic policies, including tax cuts and deregulatory efforts aimed at creating millions of new “made-in-America” jobs. And that might also be good news for the American family, a new study shows.
Between 1980 and 2014, the U.S. economy lost about 7 million jobs in the manufacturing sector, according to the Brookings Institute. That contraction led to a correlated decline in marriageable American men, according to a new National Bureau of Economic Research paper by economists David Autor, David Dorn and Gordon Hanson.
Trade shocks to local manufacturing communities, due to increased competition from countries like China, set off a “causal chain running from adverse shocks to male earnings capacity to declining marriage prevalence among young adults, a rising fraction of births accruing to teenage and unmarried mothers, and an increasing share of children living in single-headed and impoverished households,” the report concludes.
The study relates the loss of manufacturing jobs in a community to the tendency of men, who would be working such jobs, to leave the area, enlist in the military, end up in jail, lose their homes, or resort to potentially fatal vices like drugs and alcohol. All of this decreases the pool of available men for single women in the area, thus leading to a decline in the marriage rate, the researchers conclude.
The number of adults above the age of 25 who had never married registered at one in five in 2012, according to the Pew Research Center. In 1960, that statistic was only one in ten.
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The research suggests that Trump’s goal of bringing back jobs, if successful, could begin to reverse these trends. And by increasing the marriage rate, the president might also be giving a boost to the economy.
Tying the knot, first and foremost, increases the economic viability of the couple, according to a 2014 study by Robert Lerman and Bradford Wilcox.
“We estimate that the growth in median income of families with children would be 44 percent higher if the United States enjoyed 1980 levels of married parenthood today,” the study found.
Higher marriage rates are also linked to more economic success and less violent crime at the state level, according to research by Joseph Price, Robert Lerman and Bradford Wilcox. The 2015 report documents a positive correlation between marriage and economic growth and mobility, while concluding marriage also decreases the risk of children growing up in poverty.
“In America, the wealth of states is clearly tied to the state of their marital unions,” Price, Lerman and Wilcox concluded.
At the White House, President Trump is already getting to work on his mission to restore many of those manufacturing jobs. On Thursday, the president consulted a group of manufacturing CEOs, discussing how to bring more jobs back and citing the various deals he has already made with companies like United Technologies’ (UTX) Carrier Corp., Ford (F) and Intel (INTC).
“We in the manufacturing sector, all the CEOs that were here today and in the last meeting, are very encouraged by the pro-business policies of President Trump, and his Cabinet. Some of us have said this is probably the most pro-business administration since the founding fathers,” Dow Chemical (DOW) CEO Andrew Liveris told reporters on Thursday after meeting with the president.