The Mission

The Institute for Family Studies (IFS) is dedicated to strengthening marriage and family life, and advancing the well-being of children, through research and public education. IFS’s programs specifically focus on

  1. Exploring the relationship between marriage and economics;
  2. Highlighting the impact of family structure on child welfare around the globe;
  3. Providing family-related education for policy-makers, educators, business and civic leaders, scholars, and the general public.

As a nonpartisan, nonsectarian, and not-for-profit institute committed to the study of family life, IFS works with scholars, writers, and supporters without regard to academic discipline, party, or ideology. In this work, the Institute for Family Studies seeks to strengthen the quality and stability of marriage and family life in the United States and around the globe.

Projects

The Home Economics Project

The Home Economics Project (HEP) focuses on the relationship between the family and the economy. HEP sponsors academic research and publishes public reports to educate business leaders, scholars, policy-makers, and the general public about the role, if any, marriage plays in fostering free enterprise at home and abroad. This project is co-sponsored with the American Enterprise Institute.

In 2013 and 2014, the Home Economics Project will focus on how marriage is connected to work effort, work satisfaction, and income among adults in the U.S. and around the world. In 2015 and 2016, the project will also explore the links between family structure and economic growth in twenty countries across the globe. This project is directed by W. Bradford Wilcox, a senior fellow at the Institute for Family Studies.

The Family Matters Project

The Family Matters Project (FMP) highlights the ways in which strong marriages and families serve the welfare of children, couples, and communities. This project serves civic and religious leaders, educators, scholars, and the general public. The FMP’s primary initiative is a blog, Family-Studies.org, which features the latest information, scholarship, and analysis on important family topics from a variety of family scholars and writers. The Family Studies blog is edited by Anna Sutherland. The views writers express on the blog are their own; they do not necessarily represent the position of the Institute for Family Studies.

The Love & Marriage in Middle America Project

The Love & Marriage in Middle America Project is a research inquiry into how high school–educated young adults in one small Ohio town form relationships and families. This project is co-directed by David and Amber Lapp, research fellows at the Institute for Family Studies. Based on their more than three years of on-the-ground research, including over one hundred interviews and their daily experiences living in a working-class town, the Lapps are writing a book tentatively titled Love Like Crazy: Looking for Marriage in Middle America.

The project seeks to answer the following questions. How are white, high school–educated young adults forming relationships and families in Middle America? How are they thinking about marriage? Why do so many of these young adults find themselves putting their children through the same family instability that characterized their own lives growing up? Finally, what are the stories of high school–educated young adults who have steered clear of the family instability enveloping Middle America and managed to form stable marriages and families?

IFS Personnel

Richard Brake, President

Richard Brake (Temple University, Ph.D.) is President of the Institute for Family Studies. A former political science professor, Army officer, and Capitol Hill staffer, Dr. Brake worked from 2006 to 2013 at the Intercollegiate Studies Institute, where he served as vice president for undergraduate education and also directed the Institute’s civic literacy and free enterprise initiatives. His doctoral work and college teaching focused on America’s founding and political institutions. Email Dr. Brake.

Jackie Anderson, Director of Communications

Jackie Anderson is the Director of Communications at the Institute for Family Studies, focusing on the Institute’s media, communications, and digital strategy. Prior to joining IFS, she worked for the Heritage Foundation’s media department, specializing in media relations, strategic messaging, and securing network, cable, and syndicated media bookings for policy experts. Jackie has appeared on major news programs, including those of ABC, CBS, and Fox News Channel, and has shared camera time with sitting presidents, Congressmen, military leaders, and presidential candidates. Jackie holds bachelor of arts degrees in journalism and political science from Penn State University. Email Jackie Anderson.

Anna Sutherland, Editor, Family-Studies.org

Anna Sutherland is Editor of Family-Studies.org and a freelance writer. Prior to joining the Institute for Family Studies, she was a Junior Fellow at First Things magazine and a Collegiate Network fellow at USA Today.

Senior Fellows

Bill Coffin

Bill Coffin (Maryland, M.Ed.) is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies and the former Special Assistant for Marriage Education at the Administration for Children and Families in the Department of Health and Human Services. He is the author of a daily newsletter on marriage and a recipient of the Smart Marriages Impact Award.

Laurie DeRose

Laurie F. DeRose (Brown University, Ph.D.) is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, Research Assistant Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, and Director of Research for the World Family Map Project. She has published numerous articles on fertility, education, fertility decision-making, and public health in sub-Saharan Africa. She teaches African and African-American demography at Georgetown University.

Robert I. Lerman

Robert I. Lerman is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, Professor of Economics at American University, Institute Fellow at the Urban Institute, and Research Fellow at the Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA) in Bonn, Germany. He has published widely on economics and social policy issues and was one of the first scholars to examine unwed fatherhood and to propose a youth apprenticeship strategy in the U.S.

Scott Stanley

Scott M. Stanley is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies and a research professor and Co-Director of the Center for Marital and Family Studies at the University of Denver. Stanley is the author of The Power of Commitment and one of the founders of PREP (internationally recognized, evidence-based relationship education curricula), and he conducts research on commitment, romantic relationship development, and the prevention of marital distress and divorce.

Charles E. Stokes

Charles E. Stokes (University of Texas at Austin, Ph.D.) is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies and Assistant Professor of Sociology at Samford University. Much of his work investigates how family, education, and religion influence the well-being of youth. His recent work has been published in venues such as Journal of Marriage and Family, Social Science Research, and Journal of Family Issues.

W. Bradford Wilcox

W. Bradford Wilcox (Princeton University, Ph.D.) is a Senior Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, Director of the National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia, and a Visiting Scholar at the American Enterprise Institute. The coeditor of Gender and Parenthood: Biological and Social Scientific Perspectives (Columbia University Press, 2013), Wilcox conducts research on marriage, cohabitation, fatherhood, and the welfare of children.

Research Fellows

Amber Lapp

Amber Lapp is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, an Affiliate Scholar at the Institute for American Values, and co-investigator of the Love and Marriage in Middle America Project, a qualitative research inquiry into how working-class young adults form relationships and families. Lapp blogs at IBelieveinLove.com, and her work has appeared in media outlets such as The Atlantic Online, First Things, and The Huffington Post. Email Amber Lapp.

David Lapp

David Lapp is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Family Studies, an Affiliate Scholar at the Institute for American Values, and co-investigator of the Love and Marriage in Middle America Project, a qualitative research inquiry into how working-class young adults form relationships and families. Lapp blogs at IBelieveinLove.com, and his work has appeared in media outlets such as the Wall Street Journal, The Atlantic Online, and First Things. Email David Lapp.

Contributing Editors Family-Studies.org

Kay Hymowitz

Kay Hymowitz is a Contributing Editor at the Institute for Family Studies, the William E. Simon Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, and a Contributing Editor of City Journal. She writes extensively on childhood, family issues, poverty, and cultural change in America.

Ashley E. McGuire

Ashley E. McGuire is a Contributing Editor at the Institute for Family Studies, a Senior Fellow with The Catholic Association, editor-in-chief of AltCatholicah, and the Richard John Neuhaus Fellow at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty. Her writing has appeared in the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post, among others, and she has appeared on CNN, FOX News, PBS, CBS, and the BBC.