The Center for American Values has released a Marriage Index tracking the health of marriage in America. We know about the leading economic indicators tracking the health of the economy. The marriage index will now do it for marriage.
There are five major factors they track: percent of adults married, percent of married person "very happy" with their marriage, percent of intact first marriage, percent of births to married persons, and percent of children living with their biological, married parents.
The report addresses: Is there a need for a marriage index and why the above factors as the basis for it? Has the health of marriage declined or are families just more diverse? Why has the African American family been disproportionately affected? What can be done to improve the score?
Since 1970 the index has dropped from 76.2 to 60.3. In the African American community it's dropped from 64 to 39.6.
Marriage is the foundation of the family and and by extension society. If the foundation is weak so will the rest of society be weak. For many people there's a disconnect between society's social ills and bad family situations. Yet the effects are real. All one has to do is one's own life and think about why we do what we do, our strengths and weaknesses, and we realize the habits, attitudes formed while young stay with us. That's not to say family life is destiny and many people have overcome deficiencies in their family life to do well. But the key is the need to "overcome" which takes effort and work. Many people don't overcome.
Family is the key character forming institution in society. If kids don't get it right there, they will have a strike or two against them once they leave their family. Frankly, many, most of society's social ills have be laid at the doorstep of marriage and family deterioration.