Long-Term Effects of the Minnesota Family Investment Program on Marriage and Divorce Among Two-Parent Families. Brief Review of the Final Report's Key Findings at the 36-Month Follow-up Point


The final report of the MFIP evaluation presents and summarizes MFIP's effects at the 36-month follow-up point on employment, income, marriage, and other family outcomes, for two-parent recipient and applicant families.(7) All noted effects are estimated by comparing regression-adjusted outcomes between families who were randomly assigned, in a lottery-like process, to either the MFIP group or the AFDC group.(8)

In brief, the key findings from the 36-month follow-up were:

  • Two-parent recipient families in MFIP were as likely as those in the AFDC group to have at least one parent work, but less likely to have both parents work, leading to lower combined earnings.
  • MFIP two-parent recipient families were 40 percent more likely to be married and living together than their counterparts in the AFDC group.
  • Compared with AFDC recipient families, MFIP two-parent recipient families had higher incomes, and twice as many of them owned a home at the end of the study's third year.
  • Two-parent applicant families in MFIP were as likely to have at least one parent work, but less likely to have both parents work, leading to lower combined earnings.(9)

The effects of MFIP on marriage from the 36-month follow-up were estimated for a survey sample of 290 two-parent recipient families and were based on the survey measure "In the prior month, were you married and living with a spouse?" In addition, effects on marriage were confirmed via manually collected, publicly available divorce records data for the subset of the survey sample married at study entry. The survey sample of two-parent applicant families was too small to evaluate program impacts on marriage or other family outcomes.

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