Marriage & Birth Rates Impact Global Economy

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Marriage and kids can have a big impact on the economy. A new report released by the National Marriage Project at UVA suggests a drop in the number of couples getting married and having fewer children can affect the global economy. 

Paige Mattson is owner of the Blue Ridge Eco Shop in Charlottesville and said they see lots of families shopping for household goods and baby products. It's a business that's doing well on the Downtown Mall. 

"In regards to specifically like the baby category for us, we have not seen any decrease since we opened four years ago," Mattson said. 

A new report co-sponsored by the National Marriage Project called "The Sustainable Demographic Dividend: What Do Marriage and Fertility Have to Do with the Economy?" explains how the family can make a big impact.  Bradford Wilcox is the director of the National Marriage Project and said when couples get married and have kids businesses related to child care, groceries, health care, home maintenance, juvenile products household products and services and life insurance do better. 

"These industries obviously are more likely to have paying customers when folks get married and have kids," Wilcox said. 

The report also explains if men are married they are more likely to work more hours and earn more money. 

"There's something about getting married, becoming more responsible, having an incentive to work for your wife and your kids that seem to make men better workers," Wilcox said. 

Since the recession, Wilcox said fertility and marriage rates in the U.S. have dropped by 10 percent. The average family size now has 2.66 children.    

"If the economy does not recover, if we see sort of long term stagnation or if we see a double dip recession we're likely to see the U.S. head to fertility rates of about 1.75 which would be a historic low for the U.S." Wilcox said.