Nov 08 2017
The American Enterprise Institute recently published a new report by Brad Wilcox and Wendy Wang that highlights the class divide in American marriage. As the authors explain, prior to the 1970s family life looked similar across socioeconomic levels, but today there are stark divides across class when it comes to marriage, divorce, and unwed childbearing.
The authors show that poor and working-class Americans are much less likely than their middle- and upper-income peers to marry or remain married. They are also far more likely to have children outside of marriage, such that unwed childbearing has become the norm among the poor and increasingly common among the working class. Middle- and upper-income Americans, on the other hand, nearly always wait until marriage to have children. (The authors define ‘poor’ as those with less than a high school education or those with a family income below the 20th percentile; ‘working class’ refers to those with only a high school education or some college, or with income between the 20th and 50th percentiles; and ‘middle and upper class’ are those with a college degree or an income above the 50th percentile.)
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