(Public Discourse) David Lapp–What Marriage Means in Today’s “New Normal”

The New York Times’ [February 2012]… story that more than half of births to American women under age 30 now occur outside of marriage, and the conversation spurred by Charles Murray’s new book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960 ”“ 2010, have shifted public gaze to a population largely ignored in the scholarly literature of the past few decades: the 58 percent of Americans with a high school diploma but no college degree””what some might call “working class.”

Nonmarital births have been common among Americans without a high school diploma for at least thirty years: as the 2010 State of Our Unions reports, in 1982 33 percent of births to women without a high school diploma occurred outside of marriage, compared to 13 percent of births to high-school educated women. But in the past thirty years, nonmarital births to high-school educated women surged: in the late 2000s’, 44 percent of births to high-school educated women occurred outside of marriage. (By comparison, only 6 percent of births to college-educated women were outside of marriage.) It is the behavioral changes of this “moderately educated middle”””the 58 percent of high-school educated Americans””that put the “normal” into “the new normal” that the Times describes.

Furthermore, the “new normal” is not driven primarily by an increase in single mothers, but in the number of cohabiting couples….

Read it all.


Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Children, Consumer/consumer spending, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Housing/Real Estate Market, Labor/Labor Unions/Labor Market, Marriage & Family, Men, Personal Finance, Theology, Women

2 comments on “(Public Discourse) David Lapp–What Marriage Means in Today’s “New Normal”

  1. AnglicanFirst says:

    “The shift is affecting children’s lives. Researchers have consistently found that children born outside marriage face elevated risks of falling into poverty, failing in school or suffering emotional and behavioral problems.”

    Yep. But the birth parents sure did have ‘a good old time’ making those babies just because it happened to ‘feel good.’

    As a son of a mother who was widowed at the age of 39 and who was left with 3 sons under the age of 12 to raise, I can tell you that the lack of a birth father being present “in marriage” in the family had a negative effect on all three of us.

    We all did well and went to college and became ‘professionals.’ Two of us us earned signficant college scholarships, one earned multiple scholarships and another graduated at the top of his class in electrical engineering at a very good school, but we all had the ‘hole of no father in our lives.’

    So I can tell you that the experience of ‘no father in the family’ can be a heart rending and confusing experience for a young child.

    So those who do things outside of marriage that result in the conception of a child are producing a similar situation (but not through honorable and understandable widowhood) in which a child suffers ‘a whole lot’ for a few minutes of adult ‘pleasure and release.’

  2. driver8 says:

    I wonder when was the last time in human history that marriage and parenting patterns changed as rapidly as they have done in the last 50 years?