Executive Summary

The Sustainable Demographic Dividend contends that the long-term fortunes of the modern economy rise and fall with the family. The report focuses on the key roles marriage and fertility play in sustaining long-term economic growth, the viability of the welfare state, the size and quality of the workforce, and the profitability of large sectors of the modern economy.Read More »

The Sustainable Demographic Dividend

by W. Bradford Wilcox & Carlos Cavallé

The fiscal and economic crises enveloping many of the world’s wealthiest nations—from Italy and Japan to the United Kingdom and the United States—have brought to light the economic challenges arising from tectonic shifts in demography in the developed world. Specifically, dependent elderly populations are surging even as productive working-age populations stagnate or shrink in much of the developed world. These demographic trends “portend ominous change in [their] economic prospects: major increases in public debt burdens, and slower economic growth,” according to political economists Nicholas Eberstadt and Hans Groth.Read More »

The Empty Cradle

by Phillip Longman, Paul Corcuera, Laurie DeRose, Marga Gonzalvo Cirac, Andres Salazar, Claudia Tarud Aravena, and Antonio Torralba

A turning point has occurred in the life of the human race. The sustainability of humankind’s oldest institution, the family—the fount of fertility, nurturance, and human capital—is now an open question. On current trends, we face a world of rapidly aging and declining populations, of few children—many of them without the benefit of siblings and a stable, two-parent home—of lonely seniors living on meager public support, of cultural and economic stagnation.Read More »

Marriage and the Baby Carriage

by W. Bradford Wilcox and Kathryn Sharpe


Strong, sustainable families pay long-term dividends to the entire economy. But some sectors of the economy appear to do especially well when adults marry and have children.Read More »

International Family Indicators

Global Family Structure

by Laurie DeRose

KEY FINDINGS: Marriage remains the anchor for the adult life course in Asia and the Middle East, with generally high rates of marriage and low rates of cohabitation in these regions. Marriage plays a less dominant role in Africa, the Americas, Europe, and Oceania, regions where cohabitation or nonmarriage are more common. Finally, divorce rates have converged across much of the globe in recent years, but there is still considerable variation in divorce trends, even within regions, with the Americas registering both the highest and lowest crude divorce rates in this survey of global family structure.Read More »

Global Children’s Trends

by Laurie DeRose

KEY FINDINGS: In most countries, substantial numbers of children are reared by single parents; these proportions are conditioned but not determined by nonmarital childbearing. The regions where children are most likely to be reared by a married parent are Asia and the Middle East, regions where nonmarital childbearing is rare. Children are now most likely to grow up in comparatively small families in East Asia and Europe, mid-sized families in the Americas and Oceania, and large families in Africa, the Middle East, and South/Southeast Asia, though high mortality reduces the number of surviving siblings for African children. Read More »

Global Family Culture

by Laurie DeRose

KEY FINDINGS: Throughout the world, support for the institution of the family is strong. In every country examined except Sweden, men and women agree that a child needs a mother and father to grow up happily. In all 29 countries, a majority of adults believes marriage is still relevant and that an additional emphasis on family life would be a good thing. Nevertheless, support for marital permanence is weaker, with adults in many countries taking a relatively permissive stance toward divorce.Read More »

Global Family Economic Well-Being

by Laurie DeRose

KEY FINDING: Childhood mortality and undernourishment are both indicators of poverty, but there are variations in how well countries translate resources into good health outcomes.Read More »