More Marriage Equals More Economic Growth

The traditions of Marriage have always been a prominent stimulus to the economy. The effort that comes with planning a wedding and carrying everything over to wedding day builds up a high amount of expenses for couples. Couples spend an average of around $25,000 to tie the knot in the United States. With roughly 2.168 million couples getting married a year and spending that kind of money will increase consumption which will boost the GDP. Furthermore, the increase in economic output doesn’t stop with wedding expenses, there are some long term trends that are beneficial to the economy as well. For example, married couples proved to have a higher income as individuals than if they were single. This chart below estimates the median adjusted income of males and females both single and married.

Couples with higher income have more money to spend which would also lead to increases in consumption. Along with this, married couples are able to take advantage of economies to scale. These are things such as only buying one dishwasher, sharing a T.V., and possibly using each others health insurance. These are all ways in which couples can split responsibilities in a financially beneficial way which saves room for other spending. Overall, marriage, in terms of GDP output, is a great way to stimulate the economy. This all being said, allowing same-sex marriage would further more stimulate the economy. The UCLA School of law made an estimate that about 9 million people in America have distinguished themselves as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. That is roughly 4% of the American population and this number will continue to grow alongside the American population. More than 30 states have tapped into this gold mine and have shown economic growth. However, some of the states with the most potential for same-sex marriage haven’t utilized it for economic stimulation. A study was done by Williams Institute at UCLA School of Law on Texas, and it was found out that if same-sex marriage was legal, it would add roughly $180 million to its economy. About 23,000 same-sex couples in Texas would marry within the next three years if same-sex marriage is legalized.Same-sex couples will spend on average the same amount on their weddings as straight couples and have the same economic benefits after the wedding. From an economic standpoint, it is a no-brainer to legalize gay marriage, so why ban something that can boost your GDP output? That is more of a sociological question than economic. This goes as deep as people’s moral beliefs and intolerance towards others. Something no economic concept can overcome for now. Key and Peele do a great job in humorously capturing the perception of same-sex marriage by others in one of their skits.  If you haven’t seen Key and Peele’s “Gay Wedding Advice” skit you can watch it here…

-Richard Barber

5 thoughts on “More Marriage Equals More Economic Growth

  1. pdburp17

    Very eye-opening and enlightening take on the stance of marriage, and I could not agree more. As stubborn as some of the southern states may be when it comes to this topic, the data provided in this article should at least spark controversy when discussing why same-sex marriage is still not permitted. One can only imagine the economic possibilities if a law passed one day. (And good link.)

  2. nmlori16

    The substantial proof for allowing same-sex marriage was well captured here. Also interesting that married women on average have a higher income than a married male by approximately $1,000. Yet, single women have significantly lower incomes than single men, by around $12,000. What causes this wage discrepancy between married and single people?

  3. jonahchoe

    Interesting topic, this also checks out using common sense. I’m going to get some heat for this comment but here goes nothing. Men will probably most inevitably spend less while in a marriage while women who now have a shared income rather than a singular one, will conversely inevitably spend more. Thus, we know that women consume more than men and thus with common sense, we can come to the same conclusion.

  4. jacobmedina2016

    Great post! This is a very interesting topic. I agree with Nicole that I am surprised that unmarried women earn so much less than married women. I wonder how much that has to do with social stigma of unmarried women compared to unmarried men. On average, unfortunately, men still make more than women for the same work, so I wonder if that income gap increases even more if there is a stigma. This data definitely shows that society still has some room for progress.

  5. Victor Matheson

    Ok, lots of comments here. First, the Key and Peele bit was pretty funny (as they usual are). Next, in response to Jonah, I suspect the data do not show this, but if anyone wants to check, there is data at under the Consumer Expenditure Survey. My guess about why single women are poorer is that the single women category includes a significant number of single mothers with children while fewer men are in that situation. The presence of young children will likely serve to reduce incomes.

    One final comment that is most important, however, is whether being single causes low income or is a result of low income. If you think about marriage as a market, those individuals with the highest incomes are likely to be in higher demand by prospective mates. Thus, there aren’t as many rich, young single men or women out there because they all get snapped up pretty quickly. Or to quote Jane Austen at the beginning of Pride and Prejudice, “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”


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