Study Looks at Impacts of Strong Marriages on Social and Economic Trends in FL

By: Lanetra Bennett
March 25, 2014

Tallahassee, FL - The Family Policy Council says saying the words "I do" and meaning it, can conquer more than just loneliness.

It's new report says strong marriages can help alleviate social and economic plunders.

The Florida Family Policy Council says Florida's crime rate has always been above the national average, S.A.T. scores are lower in reading and math, and the number of Floridians receiving food stamps has quadrupled.

But, the group says there's one thing that can improve these statistics: Stronger families.

The council says stronger marriages and families are critical to the success of Florida's economic and social future, because they produce social order and fiscal stability in society.

The group released a report Tuesday that says Florida's marriage rate has fallen by 37 percent, and says the divorce rate has been higher than the national average for more than 50 years, with $1.9 billion annually spent on costs from divorces and unwed child bearing births.

John Stemberger with the Florida Family Policy Council says "Marriage is one of the greatest poverty fighters that there is. The statistics are very clear that married couples do better economically. It won't solve the problem, but, it'll alleviate a lot of human suffering and create more human flourishing."

The council is asking legislators to create a joint commission, a workshop, a summit, or study on exploring solutions to strengthening marriages and families.

Tallahassee resident Connie Gahafer says, "A family that prays together stays together. That's what I believe."

That's Connie and Tom Gahafer's key to their 32 years of marriage -- and holding hands. The Gahafers say, "No one holds hands anymore. They don't love, they don't touch. They just don't."

A digital version of the full document may be found at

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