Monday, October 9, 2017

Working Class Families Today

From The Institute for Family Studies:
Before the 1970s, there were not large class divides in American family life. The vast majority of Americans got and stayed married, and most children lived in stable, two-parent families.2 But since the 1960s, the United States has witnessed an emerging substantial marriage divide by class. First, poor Americans became markedly less likely to get and stay married. Then, starting in the 1980s, working-class Americans became less likely to get and stay married.3 The current state of marriage and family life and the class divisions that mark America’s families can be seen by looking at contemporary trends in marriage, cohabitation, nonmarital childbearing, divorce, children’s family structure, and marital quality.

One of the most dramatic indicators of the marriage divide in America is the share of adults age 18–55 who are married. Figure 1 indicates that a majority of middle- and upper-class Americans are married, whereas only a minority of working-class Americans are married. This stands in marked contrast to the 1970s, when there were virtually no class divides in the share of adults married, and a majority of adults across the class spectrum were married.4 At the same time, Figure 1 indicates that working-class Americans fall almost halfway between poor and middle- and upper-class Americans when it comes to the share who are married. (Read more.)

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