The Enduring Path to Financial Health: Graduate, Work, Marry and Have Children

The basic path to financial success in this country has been revealed once again by the Census Bureau’s annual report on income and poverty, which was released this week. What did it show?

People who graduate from college, get a job, get married and have children generally earn more money than those who do not. People who drop out of high school, do not work and have children out of wedlock generally earn less and are more likely to be in poverty.

One may have suspected this was the case simply by looking at the society around us. But the Census Bureau’s hard numbers and the lessons they teach are worth reviewing.

The COVID-19 pandemic made 2020 a tough year in the United States, causing a recession last March and April and leading to an overall decline in household income.

“Median household income was $67,521 in 2020, a decrease of 2.9 percent from the 2019 median of $69,560,” the Census said in its report. “This is the first statistically significant decline in median household income since 2011.”

The Census Bureau categorizes its income statistics by what it calls “family households” and “nonfamily households.” “A family household,” it says, “is a household maintained by

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