The NY Times has a very interesting article this morning on the socioeconomics of women and child-bearing. It states that evidence (that goes along with women having children later in life now) points to women under the age of 30 who do have children are now more likely to have them outside of marriage rather than in one.
It used to be called illegitimacy. Now it is the new normal. After steadily rising for five decades, the share of children born to unmarried women has crossed a threshold: more than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage.
Once largely limited to poor women and minorities, motherhood without marriage has settled deeply into middle America. The fastest growth in the last two decades has occurred among white women in their 20s who have some college education but no four-year degree, according to Child Trends, a Washington research group that analyzed government data.
Among mothers of all ages, a majority — 59 percent in 2009 — are married when they have children. But the surge of births outside marriage among younger women — nearly two-thirds of children in the United States are born to mothers under 30 — is both a symbol of the transforming family and a hint of coming generational change.
One group still largely resists the trend: college graduates, who overwhelmingly marry before having children. That is turning family structure into a new class divide, with the economic and social rewards of marriage increasingly reserved for people with the most education.
“Marriage has become a luxury good,” said Frank Furstenberg, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania.
Now this has some proclaiming that Charles Murray’s latest screed on the decline of White America is now “vindicated” along with conservative scolding of women in general, but it seems to me that the actual theory one can take away from this is anything but.
Having children as a single parent is tough on both the parent and the child. There’s plenty of evidence that there is a definite socioeconomic effect here. But please note that Republicans are running on removing the most obvious options societies can use in order to prevent that from becoming more widespread.
Republicans are increasingly against birth control. Republicans are increasingly against same-sex marriage. They are against adoption by same-sex couples. They are against changing laws that would give the legal and economic benefits of marriage to same-sex couples and civil unions. They are against changing deportation laws that would break up families. They are against strengthening domestic violence and abuse laws. They are against the notion that the government should ensure men and women are paid the same for the same job. Oh, and yes, Republicans aren’t real fans of abortion, either.
So you tell me, which party actually wants to do something about the income inequality that’s caused by this? All the evidence I see is that Republicans want to perpetuate this mess, if not completely reverse what progress has been made.