...the knowledge economy have wrenchingly changed the working-class world. Still, Coming Apart is correct: you can’t grasp what’s happening at the lower end of the income scale without talking about family breakdown. In fact, the single-mother revolution, as I’ll call it, takes us a long way toward understanding the socioeconomic problems on everyone’s mind these days: poverty, inequality, and the inability of those at the bottom to move up. The single-mother revolution shouldn’t need much introduction. It started in the 1960s, when the nation began to sever the historical connection between marriage and childbearing and to turn single motherhood and the fatherless family into a viable, even welcome, arrangement for children and for society. The reasons for the revolution were many, including the sexual revolution, a powerful strain of anti-marriage feminism, and a superbug of American individualism that hit the country in the 1960s and ’70s.
...As of 1970, 11 percent of births were to unmarried mothers; by 1990, that number had risen to 28 percent. Today, 41 percent of all births are nonmarital. And for mothers under 30, the number is 53 percent.
...it has been an economic catastrophe for those women. Poverty remains relatively rare among married couples with children; the U.S. Census puts only 8.8 percent of them in that category...But over 40 percent of single-mother families are poor...
...low-earning men have lost ground, too. Knowing that women are now expected to be able to raise children on their own, unskilled men lose much of the incentive to work, especially at the sometimes disagreeable jobs that tend to be the ones they can get... ...scholars consistently find that unmarried men work fewer hours, make less money, and get fewer promotions than married men do.
...Decades of research show that kids growing up with single mothers (again, even after you allow for the obvious variables) have lower scholastic achievement from kindergarten through high school, as well as higher rates of drug and alcohol abuse, depression, behavior problems, and teen pregnancy. All these factors are likely to reduce their eventual incomes.
The positive solution to all this?...
“If young people do three things—graduate from high school, get a job, and get married and wait until they’re 21 before having a baby—they have an almost 75 percent chance of making it into the middle class.” Those are pretty impressive odds.Read the whole article, if you have the time. There seems to be much talk and even protest these days regarding the gap between rich and poor, but, as harsh as it seems to say, the poor have contributed, in many cases, to that very gap.