Performance Improvement 2009. How Do People Served by the Target Populations of Healthy Marriage Programs Vary By State and Region?


Policy-relevant statistics on marriage, divorce, childbearing, and low-income children were compiled, including national and regional benchmark estimates to help identify the distinctive characteristics of each state, information policymakers can use to better understand marriage patterns in their state and to design an approach that best serves the needs of their local populations. Since healthy marriage programs aim to serve a broad mix of people, including expectant unmarried parents, low-income married parents, high school students, engaged couples, single adults, and other groups, the design and content of the programs varies substantially. Researchers drew on survey data and vital statistics to provide policymakers and program operators with a broad range of state-level statistical information to use to better assess the characteristics and needs of their state populations, identify high-priority target populations, and make informed decisions about the design and implementation of their healthy marriage programs.

The study provided individual analyses of each state on indicators including the number and percent of births to unmarried women, the number of divorces granted and the divorce rate, and the distribution of children living in low-income families by urban and rural and racial/ethnic group. For example, in the most populous state, California, the percentage of adults who were divorced was 14 percent, compared to the national average of 15 percent. The percentage of adults who were divorced was 16.0 percent in rural areas and 14 percent in urban areas. California had nearly 4 million children living in families with incomes below 200 percent of the federal poverty level in 2006. Just over half of these children were living with married parents. The state’s largest group of low-income children lived with married parents in urban areas. Sixty-seven percent of low-income children in California were Hispanic, 15 percent were white, and 8 percent were African American.

Report Title: : The Marriage Measures Guide of State-level Statistics; Report may be obtained from Federal Contact
Agency Sponsor: ASPE-OHSP, Office of Human Services Policy
Federal Contact: Jennifer Burnszynski, 202-690-8651
Performer: Mathematica Policy Research, Inc.
PIC ID: 8887

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