Monday, July 16, 2012

Why Won't They Marry?

Over the weekend, the New York Times published an article contrasting the lives of single and married parents, accompanied by the usual expert handwringing and tsk-tsking reader comments. I have said this before and I will say it again: the issue is not that single mothers are bad for society, but bad societies create single mothers.

The rise of out-of-wedlock childbearing is directly linked to the stagnation and decline in men's wages over the past four decades. Single parents are the canary in the coal mine, revealing the location of economic instability and decay. Look at the numbers and you can see the segments of the population in which men have the most difficulty finding a stable job that pays a living wage. The fact that "across Middle America, single motherhood has moved from an anomaly to a norm with head-turning speed," as the Times article notes, should set off alarm bells. 

It's not about morals. It's about men.

Source: National Center for Health Statistics, Fertility of Men and Women Aged 15-44 Years in the United States: National Survey of Family Growth, 2006-2010

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