Gallup: Higher Marriage Rate Could Boost the Economy

By Susan Jones | October 28, 2013 | 7:14am EDT

(AP File Photo)

( - Married Americans spend more than their unmarried counterparts, suggesting that if the marriage rate increases, overall spending in the U.S. might also increase, benefiting the U.S. economy.

Those are the findings of a Gallup Daily tracking survey conducted Jan. 1-Sept. 30, 2013 among 135,537 adults contacted randomly by telephone in all fifty states and the District of Columbia.

To get an estimate of discretionary spending, Gallup asked Americans to report how much money they spent the prior day, excluding payments for normal household bills and major purchases such as homes or cars.

The survey found that married Americans report a daily spending average of $102, followed by $98 among those who are living in domestic partnerships, $74 by divorced Americans, $67 by those who are single and never married, and $62 by those who are widowed. Across all age groups, those who were married spend more than those of other marital statuses.

Gallup says its findings suggest that if more Americans were married, and fewer were single/never married, overall spending might increase. Similarly, if more Americans were in domestic partnerships and fewer were single, that too would appear to be related to higher spending.

Gallup concluded that married Americans spend more partly because they have higher-than-average incomes, while single Americans spend less, partly because they have lower-than-average incomes.

The polling company also cites a recent Gallup analysis showing that the marriage rate in the United States "will go up in the future, based on a pent-up demand for marriage."

"Based on the spending habits of married Americans compared with their single counterparts who have never married, such a change could be expected to give a boost to the economy, if those marriages come from the ranks of those who are single/never married," Gallup says.

"Similarly, an increase in the percentage of Americans living in domestic partnerships as opposed to being single would have an apparently positive impact on the economy. If, however, Americans in the future become less likely to jump from single status to marriage and more likely to move into domestic partnerships, the impact on the economy would be less significant."

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