Another dismal report confirms that marriage is fading among working-class Americans who lack college degrees, while it remains strong among the well-educated.
Researchers presented a study titled "Intimate Inequalities: Love and Work in a Post-Industrial Landscape" at an American Sociological Association assembly in New York.
"Working-class people with insecure work and few resources, little stability and no ability to plan for a foreseeable future become concerned with their own survival and often become unable to imagine being able to provide materially and emotionally for others," lead author Sarah Corse said.
In other words, if you have only a part-time minimum-wage job, you aren't prepared to support a spouse and children. The Christian Science Monitor commented:
"The trend lines are clear: Marriage is becoming a luxury reserved for the wealthy and well-educated. While some 60 percent of U.S. women with a bachelor's degree are married, for example, less than 30 percent of those who never graduated from high school are."
Low-income blacks traditionally suffered worst from this breakdown of family life -- but now it afflicts millions of less-educated whites.
"Poverty is no longer an issue of 'them'; it's an issue of 'us,'" said Washington University professor Mark Rank. "Only when poverty is thought of as a mainstream event, rather than a fringe experience that just affects blacks and Hispanics, can we really begin to build broader support for programs that lift people in need."
Amen. America should go all-out for college scholarships, job-training, public works employment and other "programs that lift people in need." But Republicans in Congress, who serve mostly the privileged elite, usually block every effort to boost economic opportunity for little folks.
"Marriage in the broad middle of our nation -- among the nearly 60 percent who are high school-educated but not college-educated -- has been falling apart," a Washington Post commentary said. "As recently as the 1980s, only 13 percent of children of moderately educated mothers were born outside of marriage. Now, this figure is approaching 50 percent."These children of lower-income, less-educated mothers have much poorer prospects for success in life, compared to youths from well-educated two-parent families. So it would be a blessing if Washington could cease its ruthless partisan deadlock and produce some "programs that lift people in need."