The Independent Women’s Forum (IWF) has developed a reputation for putting on spirited but civil panels that address tough questions, but I don’t think we’ve ever tackled a more crucial issue than this one: the future—if there is one—of marriage.

An astonishing 40 percent of children in the U.S. are born to unmarried women, a clear indication that marriage as an institution appears to be in jeopardy. Many never-married, low-income women are struggling to raise children in single-parent households, while a significant portion of more affluent young people are opting out of marriage in favor of a single’s lifestyle. Does all this mean that marriage is beyond saving? Can marriage be saved? Should it be saved? On the answers to these questions hang economic outcomes for families and the overall character of our society.

We convened a distinguished panel composed of, as a friend of mine put it, “everybody you’d most want to hear from on this topic in one room at one time.” We thank our panelists for such an impressive and provocative discussion. It was so good we wanted to preserve it and make it available to an even wider audience.


Download the Future of Marriage PDF