12/17/2012 07:08 pm ET

Marriage Study: New Research Offers Solutions To Decline In Marriage Rates

Marriage rates are declining in record numbers, and that can cause major social problems. A new report from the National Marriage Project and the Institute for American Values tackles those issues head on, and offers some practical solutions.

"The President's Marriage Agenda For The Forgotten Sixty Percent" identifies a decline in marriage among those with high school diplomas but without four-year college degrees (a group that makes up 60 percent of the U.S. population). The report argues that the declining marriage rate has resulted in high numbers of unwed mothers, the weakening of the middle class and increasing economic inequality in the United States.

To combat these social problems, the report suggests eliminating financial penalties imposed by the welfare system, Medicaid and Social Security, which often restrict benefits to married couples. In addition, the report advises tripling the child tax credit.

Why does it matter if people get married? Previous research has suggested that marriage improves health, and a recent study found that married same-sex couples report greater psychological well-being than their unmarried counterparts.

Read readers' advice for how to have a lasting marriage in the slideshow below.

Readers Advice On How To Have A Long Marriage

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