Kay Hymowitz pens an excellent response to the Kate Bolick Atlantic cover story:
…Like most marriage-is-dead arguments, Bolick’s hinges on two statistics badly in need of deconstruction. One is that only 48% of American households are headed by a married couple compared to 78% in 1950. That’s a striking decline but it has little to do with any loss of interest in the institution.
Most of the unmarried households are made up of young immigrant men, elderly women who, thanks to modern medicine, are out living their husbands for many years, and young singles who are marrying at historically late ages.
In reality, a little more than 80 percent of women and men marry at some point. This represents a decline from the 90 percent of marrieds in 1950, but it is similar to many other periods of American history.
The second statistic that is used to prove the end of marriage is the over 40% of American children born to unmarried mothers. This is also a number that hides as much as it reveals.
The vast majority of women who have children outside of marriage are low income and working class women. No doubt the “stigma against single motherhood” has eased, yet college educated women like Bolick continue to do what their mothers and grandmothers did; they tie the knot before having children. The latest Census shows that percentage of college educated women who have children outside of marriage is only about 6%. That’s an increase from previous years, but a very small one…
In other words, women like Bolick are the most likely to marry, to have children within marriage, and, to stay married…