Join Society’s elite: get married

According to the latest demographic statistics, it turns out that marriage is not for everybody anymore:

Punctuating a fundamental change in American family life, married
couples with children now occupy fewer than one in every four
households — a share that has been slashed in half since 1960 and is
the lowest ever recorded by the census.

As marriage with children
becomes an exception rather than the norm, social scientists say it is
also becoming the self-selected province of the college-educated and
the affluent. The working class and the poor, meanwhile, increasingly
steer away from marriage, while living together and bearing children
out of wedlock.

I saw the headline to the article and thought about how virtually every couple I know is married.  A great example of why we should not generalize too much from our own experiences.  Being a college professor, most everybody I know socially is college-educated, affluent, or both– though you won't find this combination too often among professors :-).  Anyway, the article has a number of interesting observations, e.g.,

Marriage has declined across all income groups, but it has declined
far less among couples who make the most money and have the best
education. These couples are also less likely to divorce. Many
demographers peg the rise of a class-based marriage gap to the erosion
since 1970 of the broad-based economic prosperity that followed World
War II.

“We seem to be reverting to a much older pattern, when
elites marry and a great many others live together and have kids,” said
Peter Francese, demographic trends analyst for Ogilvy & Mather, an
advertising firm.

Due to “assortative mating” wealthy elites tend to marry other wealthy elites, etc., and society becomes more stratified.  I don't have any groundbreaking insights to add, just thought this was interesting.  The whole article is worth a quick read. 

About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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