In September of 2003, the Brookings Institute did a study entitled, "Work and Marriage; The Way to End Poverty and Welfare," by Isabel V. Sawhill and Ron Haskins. Subsequently, the study has been re-reported several times (by our findings in 2009, and in Jan of 2012). In fact, Rick Santorum apparently talked about it in his 2012 Presidential Run. There are many variations on the theme, but the basic thrust is that "the poverty rate among families with children could be lowered by 71 percent if the poor completed high school, worked full time, married and had children after marriage and then no more than two children. The last part, no more than two children, was not included in the 2009 and 2012 reportings of the study. For example, the November 6, 2009, story by the National Center for Policy Analysis entitled "How to Avoid Poverty and Enter the American Middle Class", while referencing the Brookings study, said, "If you want to avoid poverty and join the middle class in the United States, you need do three things; Complete High School (minimum), work full time, and marry before you have children. If you do all three, your chances of being poor fall to 2 percent." In January 2012, the Florida Times Union dba Jacksonville.com, reported by referencing the Brookings study of 2003 and Rick Santorum's statements, that "You can avoid poverty by; 1. Graduating from High School, 2. Waiting to get married until after 21 and do not have children until after you are married, and 3. Have a full time job." Apparently, during some of his speeches, Santorum may have modified the "full time job" to "get a full time job and keep it for over a year." Two final points, in the original Brookings study from September 2003, the authors found that the part about having "no more than two children" reduced poverty less than the other principles, i.e. High school, marriage and full time job. Perhaps this is why this principle is not found in later references to the original study. Barry is still convinced that he read this in the Economist; my guess is that the magazine was merely reporting the original Brookings study.
Allen E. Blakemore
Blakemore & Associates