JEC Republicans: Student Debt Is Not Discouraging Family Formation for Most Americans
WASHINGTON— Proposals to cancel student loan debt on a large scale are often made in the spirit of lifting barriers to family formation. Does student debt cause Americans to put off the decision to marry or have kids?
In a new report released today, the Joint Economic Committee’s Social Capital Project investigates whether or not student debt delays marriage and parenthood. We find that student debt is less widespread than we are led to believe—a full two-thirds of Millennials hold no student debt, and a majority of Americans have never incurred education-related debt.
Of households with student loans, we find that some with exceptionally high loan burdens, especially women, are more likely to delay marriage. However, there is less evidence connecting student loans with lower fertility, and the evidence suggests that student debt is not discouraging family formation for most Americans.
The popular narrative that student debt delays marriage and kids paints a misleading picture. Policymakers should focus on making higher education work better for Americans by allowing competition, improving income-based repayment, and supporting community colleges, trade schools, and non-traditional pathways to the workforce.
The Joint Economic Committee is Congress’s bicameral economic research center and home of the Social Capital Project, led by Ranking Member Mike Lee.