Marital status is a common measure that provides basic descriptive information about a respondent. Historically, single mothers with children formed the core of the welfare rolls. Due to a host of personal and family barriers, this group has had greater difficulty finding stable and sustainable long-term employment than have married or single adults. Collecting marital information will allow states to make comparisons among various groups, based on their marital status.
Cohabitation is a relatively common occurrence among welfare populations, as well as being an important measure of family well-being. An unmarried partner can provide economic and social resources to help sustain a family, or just as a married partner he or she can cause sstress if they have physical or mental health problems, contribute to domestic violence, or have a criminal behavior problem.