Saturday, January 21, 2006

The Marriage Gap

I'll be doing client training all day today, with light blogging. But thanks to my friend Steve Finefrock, I have stumbled across this important piece by Kay S. Hymowitz. Entitled "Marriage and Caste," it argues that "America’s chief source of inequality" is "the marriage gap." Hymowitz's piece is long and tightly written, so an excerpt cannot possibly do it much justice; but here's an effort:

The results [of modern marriage trends] radically split the experiences of children. Children in the top quartile now have mothers who not only are likely to be married, but also are older, more mature, better educated, and nearly three times as likely to be employed (whether full- or part-time) as are mothers of children in the bottom quartile. And not only do top-quartile children have what are likely to be more effective mothers; they also get the benefit of more time and money from their live-in fathers.

For children born at the bottom of the income scale, the situation is the reverse. They face a decrease in what McLanahan terms “resources”: their mothers are younger, less stable, less educated, and, of course, have less money. Adding to their woes, those children aren’t getting much (or any) financial support and time from their fathers. Surprisingly, McLanahan finds that in Europe, too—where welfare supports for “lone parents,” as they are known in Britain, are much higher than in the United States—single mothers are still more likely to be poor and less educated. As in the United States, so in Europe and, no doubt, the rest of the world: children in single-parent families are getting less of just about everything that we know helps to lead to successful adulthood.

This is an important argument (and is an excerpt from Hymowitz' book, linked on the same article) and deserves to be widely read. Read the whole thing and pass it on.


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Blogger T.L. Stanley said...

Good post. I wonder how stay-at-home moms and homeschooled kids skew the data? Take care.

Saturday, January 21, 2006 3:03:00 PM  
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