The Mormon Advantage

With even New York Times columnists and distinguished social scientists like Andrew J. Cherlin reinforcing the core truth that the retreat from marriage is causing core inequalities in the opportunities of millions of American children, it is worth asking: Who is doing a better job at sustaining a marriage culture?

A fascinating data dump by the Austin Institute sheds unique new light on this question.

Research on the relationship between religion and family has been complicated by the fact that, today, religious affiliation tells you relatively little about what people believe or how they behave. Many people are cultural, not religious, when it comes to their religious affiliation, which makes it harder to see what impact attendance and the teaching that takes place in houses of worship has on marriage and family behavior.

But the scholars who produced the Austin Institute’s newly released Relationships in America interviewed 15,000 people, and by most measures of belief and practice, the winner is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS, or Mormons).

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