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Flight from Marriage

The slippage in education and earnings potential among males has triggered some "marriageable mate" problems that will be new to everyone (except African Americans, who are all too familiar with the dilemma). Here's an angle I never thought of before: What are the economic implications on a macro level?

On Oct. 4 a panel at American Enterprise Institute will debate those implications. On the panel is W. Bradford Wilcox from the National Marriage Project, who does good work on these issues. The program description from AEI:


Not so long ago, rapid population growth was widely regarded as a threat to national and international prosperity. Since the 1960s, however, global fertility levels have dropped by nearly half, and birth levels in developed countries have fallen by almost two-fifths. As a result, some large Western and European economies-including, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia-have already entered into depopulation. The Sustainable Demographic Dividend, a newly released study from the Social Trends Institute and the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, argues that low birthrates and increasingly unstable marital patterns pose serious risks to maintaining and enhancing prosperity in affluent societies. In fact, the study maintains, an increase in birth rates is necessary to produce growing markets and working-age populations to support the impending boom of retirees.

Are subreplacement fertility and the ongoing Western "flight from marriage" bad for business? If so, how do these trends constrain growth and development? What should governments, businesses and private citizens be doing to turn them around? Please join us as we host a panel to explore the interaction between birth rates, marriage, and economic growth.

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