Nonmarital childbearing has increased dramatically in the United States. In 1960, roughly 5 percent of births were outside of marriage. Today, over 40 percent of children are born to single mothers. This trend is troubling, considering that children are on average at-risk for poorer outcomes when raised outside a married-parent home.Love, Marriage, and the Baby Carriage: The Rise in Unwed Childbearing, several factors contributed to the increase in nonmarital births. The most significant factors, however, have been the decline in “shotgun marriage” (unions occurring between a nonmarital conception and a birth) and the drop in marriage altogether.As we explain in our recent report,
In an analysis last year, Volunteerism in America, the Social Capital Project found that rates of volunteerism have either held steady or risen over the past forty years—a rare indicator of the health of our associational life that has not worsened over the period. Our initial report, What We Do Together, also highlighted the increase in hours of volunteering per person over time.
Jan 03 2018
The most intimate and central form of associational life is the family—an institution with primary responsibility for nurturing children and transmitting values, knowledge, aspirations, and skills to subsequent generations. A healthy family life is the foundation for a healthy associational life. Children can overcome the negative consequences of being raised in unhappy or unstable families, but many start out the game of life already behind in crucial ways. More profoundly, weakened family life portends a diminished ability of a people to promote and nurture the civil society and pro-social norms that facilitate happiness and prosperity.
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.
Oct 31 2017
Sep 12 2017
Aug 01 2017
Our physical and mental health reflects the health of our relationships with others. Studies show that social networks influence the behavior of their members, affecting whether they are obese or fit, happy or sad. The stark fact is that socially isolated people and others without social support die younger. Even among people with adequate social support, health status is connected to the health of their friends, family, and coworkers.