(NY Times) Jason deParle—Two Classes, Divided by ‘I Do’

Posted by Kendall Harmon

The economic storms of recent years have raised concerns about growing inequality and questions about a core national faith, that even Americans of humble backgrounds have a good chance of getting ahead. Most of the discussion has focused on labor market forces like falling blue-collar wages and lavish Wall Street pay.

But striking changes in family structure have also broadened income gaps and posed new barriers to upward mobility. College-educated Americans like the Faulkners are increasingly likely to marry one another, compounding their growing advantages in pay. Less-educated women like Ms. Schairer, who left college without finishing her degree, are growing less likely to marry at all, raising children on pinched paychecks that come in ones, not twos.

Estimates vary widely, but scholars have said that changes in marriage patterns — as opposed to changes in individual earnings — may account for as much as 40 percent of the growth in certain measures of inequality. Long a nation of economic extremes, the United States is also becoming a society of family haves and family have-nots, with marriage and its rewards evermore confined to the fortunate classes.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchChildrenMarriage & FamilySociology* Economics, PoliticsEconomyHousing/Real Estate MarketLabor/Labor Unions/Labor MarketPersonal Finance

3 Comments
Posted July 26, 2012 at 6:01 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Mark Baddeley wrote:

I think, as it becomes clear that the availability of marriage does not significantly affect the stability of same-gender relationships, there might come a time when there comes a push-back on recognizing those relationships as having significant legal standing.

A basically self-centered and hedonistic approach to life does not have to lead to lowest common denominator hedonism. Societies often (but not always) pull back from licentious extremes. If it continues to be obvious that marriage makes a difference, and it isn’t just that people who would stay together anyway for some bizzare reason get married when it does nothing - that marriage is cause and not just sign - then there will possibly be a move to promote marriage again.

And if by then, it becomes clear from various quarters that marriage makes little difference to same-gender relationships, then we might see things fall out differently than at the moment when they have a lot of rhetoric on their side and not a lot of contrary evidence (as is usually the case with something new). And if it really is the case (as some anecdotal evidence suggests - like the write up of the recent writer’s convention in Oz in Eternity Magazine) that significant groups of people are campaigning for same gender marriage as the first step in removing marriage altogether, then that will possibly change the current equations still further.

It’ll be compounded by the entitlement guilt of the upper classes who know that they have an advantage in continuing to marry and stay married. And for whom it is fashionable to feel guilty about such things.

How that pans out in the providence of God will be interesting, and I’m hardly saying that we’ll all fall on our feet regardless. But I am surprised that this featured in the NYT. It doesn’t support their traditional editorial perspective.

July 28, 2:52 am | [comment link]
2. lostdesert wrote:

Who has read the NYT?  Dead.  Liberal claptrap.  Wouldn’t read it if it were the last paper on the planet.

July 28, 6:10 am | [comment link]
3. lostdesert wrote:

What a silly article, more marxism and ‘equality’ talk.  The reason women and men marry is for the love and support of one another and to make commitments before God, offering a chance at a long and happy life.  Why would anyone not want that?  What are women thinking when they doom their children to poverty, a far greater likelihood of molestation with itinerent men moving in and out of their household while they date yet more men after their children are born? 

I read that children today in the US have a greatly increased chance of marrying a partial sibling just due to the fact that women have children with so many different men.  This was unheard of years ago.

July 28, 6:21 am | [comment link]
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