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Economic Impact of Broken Homes in SC is $469 Million

April 17, 2008

Economic Impact of Broken Homes in SC is $469 Million

Columbia, SC, April 15, 2008 – On this Tax Day 2008, Palmetto Family Council released the figures of a new report calculating the cost of divorce and unwed childbearing to South Carolina taxpayers. According to Ben Scafidi, Ph.D., economics professor at Georgia College & State University, the cost of broken homes to South Carolina taxpayers is $469 Million annually, enough to cover state spending for Clemson University, MUSC, and the Departments of Social Services, Juvenile Justice, and Probation Pardon & Parole. The full cost to the nation is $112 billion.

“The social impact of divorce on American society has been frequently discussed, but this is the first time the economic impact has been reliably estimated,” said Dr. Oran P. Smith, President of Palmetto Family Council.

The Taxpayer Costs of Divorce and Unwed Childbearing, unveiled today in Washington and Columbia, suggests that healthy marriage would reduce poverty in female-headed households by 60%, for an overall reduction in poverty of 40%. That decrease in families living below the poverty line would reduce outlays for criminal justice, welfare, Medicaid, and SCHIP (children’s health insurance). State and federal governments would also see more long term tax revenue from adults not raised in poverty.

Turning to solutions, participants in the news conference representing the faith community, professional & pastoral counselors, social agencies, business and government challenged each other to redouble private efforts to promote healthy marriage and stable family life. Anne Badgely of Heritage Community Services in Charleston also called for South Carolina to learn from the experiences of the States of Oklahoma and Texas, which have successfully invested state revenues in breaking the cycle of single-parent homes and promoting healthy family formation.

A copy of the full report, including national statistics, is available online from its sponsor, the Institute for American Values at

Palmetto Family Council, founded in 1994, is the state public policy affiliate of Focus on the Family. Its mission is to strengthen and defend South Carolina families.

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