At The Atlantic online, Derek Thompson writes:
This was the most shocking statistic I read this weekend: 58 percent of first births in lower-middle-class households are now to unmarried women. Meanwhile, two in five of all births are to unwed mothers, an all-time high, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The thesis of this fascinating article in the Wall Street Journal says the real mystery here isn’t “Why so many babies?” but rather “Why so few marriages?” — particularly among less-educated men and women.
This is a complex economic mystery that we’ve explored often at The Atlantic, but we can take a big bite out of it by focusing on three factors: (1) The changing meaning of marriage in America; (2) declining wages for low-skill men; and (3) the declining costs of being a single person. more