That tale doesn’t seem to fit the data. DarwinCatholic reports:
There follows more hand-waving about how things are tough for those at the lower end of the economy. And they are. But here’s the problem. They always have been. The effect that we’re looking to explain is a massive decrease in marriage rates and increase in out-of-wedlock childbearing. If we’re going to explain that as driven by a bad economy, we’d expect to see the incomes of those people getting worse, right? But they haven’t.
There has been a near stagnation for the lowest quintile, but not general income declines. And if I understand the author correctly those figures do not include government benefits, and it is widely admitted that the “war on poverty” has brought some successful results. Or try this:
Since 1960 the out-of-wedlock birth rate for African Americans has increased by about 3.5x while the rate for Whites has increased by 10x. If you look at median incomes by race via the Census, you’ll see that inflation adjusted median income for African American men has gone up by 82% from 1960 to 2001, while for white men it’s only gone up by 35% (for women those numbers are 272% and 135% respectively.) This does have a certain inverse relation to what we see on out-of-wedlock births, in that white out of wedlock births have increased more, but again we have the problem that incomes have in fact gone up, while marriage and the family have clearly gone down.
Maybe “cultural factors” do play a role and it is not all about wages and the economics. In passing, here is your “Jordan fact of the day”:
The US shows up low on the list, while right at the top with 94% percent of children living with two parents is that well known northern European social democracy… Jordan.
The post is excellent and interesting throughout. For the pointer I thank Will. In the meantime, score one for David Brooks.