The case for reparations is partially a case for marriage

The large and growing racial wealth gap in the United States has been widely discussed in the last few years.

160809195225-racial-wealth-gap-780x439

What has been less discussed is how the reduction in black marriage rates accounts for a significant fraction of this gap. Black marriage rates were comparable to whites’ in 1940, and have steadily declined since, until they are roughly 60% of white rates across age cohorts:

Marriage Rate 1

Because married men make more than unmarried men even controlling for pre-marriage earnings, married couple households have substantially smaller racial gaps in income than all households; black married couple households make more than households of unmarried whites at all ages over 35:

Income1.png

Similarly, black married households have much lower poverty rates than white unmarried households at all ages over 25:PovertyRate1

And black married households have  higher home-ownership rates than white unmarried households for all ages over 40:

Homeownership1.png

Some of this is likely accounted for by selection (more employable men getting married), and there are obviously cultural obstacles both across all households and particular to lower-earning groups  to increasing marriage rates. But while marriage is not sufficient to closing gaps in wealth accumulation, it probably is necessary: two are cheaper than two times one.

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