An Increase in Marriage Rates Can Boost the Illinois Economy

marriage rate IMAGEIn a recent Gallup study, the findings show that an increase in the marriage rate would benefit the U.S. economy, due in large part to the fact that married couples spend more on average daily spending than members who fall into the following categories of “Single, never married,” “Divorced,” and “Domestic partnerships.” The study, evaluating 130,000 U.S. adults from January through September 2013, found that on average, married couples spent $102 daily, couples in domestic partnerships spent $98, divorced Americans spent $74, singles spent $67, and widows spent $62.

These numbers, especially when controlling for the fact that married adults have higher-than-average incomes than their single, never married counterparts, show that as the marriage rate increases, especially from the pool of single, never married adults, that more daily spending will have the effect of boosting the economy. The relevance of this study becomes significant especially with the signing into law of the Illinois Gay Marriage Bill, making Illinois the 16th state to legalize same-sex marriage, which goes into effect June 1, 2014.

 The Effect of Same-Sex Marriages on Illinois Economy

The Williams Institute put out a study showing that marriage equality will have an incredible impact on the Illinois economy due to the number of same-sex marriages that will take place in the next three years. The study estimates that legalizing same-sex marriages will help to generate almost $53-103 million due to an increase in wedding arrangements, as well as tourism from wedding guests and same-sex couples flocking to Illinois. In the 2010 U.S. Census, there were 23,049 same-sex couples residing in Illinois, and, if Massachusetts’ experience holds true in Illinois, 50 percent of them will wed in the next three years.

In Massachusetts’ experience, in the first three years, 64 percent of marriages took place in the first year, 21 percent took place in the second year, and 15 percent took place in the third. Therefore, relating these estimated figures to Illinois, it can be seen that of the 11,525 same sex couples residing in Illinois, 7,376 couples will marry in year one, by year two, a total of 85 percent of the 11,525 same sex couples will be married (9,796 couples), and by year three, the total number of married couples will reach 11,525. In addition, it is estimated that on average, most couples spend about $25,887 on weddings in Illinois.

What will have a greater impact on the economy in Illinois will be that, on average, every $101,867 spent by tourists passing through Illinois produces one new job. Therefore, by legalizing same-sex marriage, the wedding and tourism expenditures could produce upwards from 147 jobs to 281 jobs, depending on the number of weddings that ultimate occur in the next three years.

 Financial Incentives of Marriage

These findings are based on the desire of these couples to get married. This desire extends not only from the want to symbolically tie himself to his partner, with the following being financial incentives for same-sex (as well as heterosexual) couples to get married:

  • he marriage bonus for couples filing their income tax jointly;
  • The ability for same-sex couples already married to redo their previous federal income taxes for the last three years due to the 2013 strike down of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA);
  • The reduction or elimination of the gift tax; a tax, under DOMA, that had been charged to same-sex couples for transferring assets of more than $14,000 to each other. This tax did not apply to heterosexual, married couples;
  • The ability to pay less in health insurance because one spouse could be covered by the other’s plan;
  • The Social Security benefits available to married couples;
  • The exemption from paying estate taxes. Married couples may combine personal estate tax exemptions;
  • The retirement benefits that provide coverage of one spouse’s retirement plan and benefits to the other spouse.

An experienced DuPage family law attorney may be able to show couples the benefits and drawbacks of marriage, and may help couples decide whether marriage will be economically beneficial to them. Contact our law offices today if you are considering marriage.

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