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Oklahoma Marriage Initiative (OMI): An Overview of the Longest-Running Statewide Marriage Initiative in the U.S.


In the late 1990s the State of Oklahoma, recognizing the economic and social consequences of its high rates of divorce and non-marital childbearing, undertook an innovative strategy to strengthen families.  At the direction of the Governor, the state initiated an effort to reduce divorce and decrease non-marital childbearing.  This pioneering effort became the Oklahoma Marriage Initiative (OMI), now the nations longest running and most comprehensive set of programs to strengthen marriage.  Although many communities and a few states have begun activities to support marriage, Oklahoma remains the only state committed to making marriage and relationship education services accessible in every county in the state and to citizens from all walks of life.

In 2005, ASPE contracted with Mathematica Policy Research (MPR) to conduct a process evaluation of the OMI, focusing on three primary goals:

  1. To document and chronicle the conception, development, and implementation of the initiative
  2. To analyze the OMIs program strategy and understand as well as possible the consequences of the implementation approaches taken
  3. To identify lessons and implications for both the continuation of the OMI and the development of marriage initiatives in other states.

The OMI evaluation relied on multiple methods for collecting both qualitative and quantitative data.  Qualitative data were collected in the field through five site visits, each conducted by two people and lasting up to a week.  Quantitative data recorded in the OMI management information system were also analyzed to assess the extent of participation in OMI activities.

Findings are reported in a series of research briefs and a comprehensive final report.  Publications available are:


The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is interested in knowing whether readers of these publications found them useful and how they have informed your work and interests on this topic.  You are invited to include comments on how you found out about the publication and whether it contributed to considerations concerning policy implementation.  Please email your comments to and include the title of the publication in the subject line of your email.

If you want a printed copy of any of these reports, send the full title and your contact information to

Thank you!