Pew Research released a new report last week on the state of the unmarried in the US. It’s not good, but the Pew report (“Record Share of Americans Have Never Married,”) soft-pedals the results; for a harder-hitting distillation of their findings, we’ll look to The Economist.
The study confirms that marriage among the young is becoming far less common, especially among the less educated and lower income. The upper class, college-educated men and women are marrying each other in reasonable numbers, though later (around 28-30), but less educated and lower-class males, especially, are having a hard time finding employment, and the number of eligible working men is now much lower than the number of women who might be looking to marry.
Let’s look at the story for the shocking numbers:
Got to have a J.O.B. – Women still most want to marry men with money
Jane Austen’s characters took it for granted that men with money made more eligible mates. “A man like that is hard to find, but I can’t get him off my mind,” lamented the female vocalists of ABBA. A new study from the Pew Research Centre, a think-tank, finds that little has changed. Fully 78% of American women who have never been married say it is “very important” that their future spouse has a “steady job”. By comparison, only 46% of men mind much what their future spouse does for a living.
Despite the goal of some feminists to free women from any need for the support of men by encouraging women to join the professions and have outstanding high-paying jobs, most women desire the completely rational insurance policy of having a higher-earning male as their mate. This should surprise no one, and since it is deeply embedded in culture and emotional preferences, unlikely to change.
Wrenching changes in the labour market, combined with these ancient preferences, have shaken up the marriage market. Women are much more likely to have jobs than they were half a century ago; men, somewhat less so. Women today find it easier to cope without a male breadwinner. At the same time, many find the pool of potential husbands less appealing.
In 1960 young, never-married women were spoilt for choice. For every 100 of them aged 25-34, there were 139 young, never-married men with jobs vying for their attention. In 2012 there were just 91. For some groups, the gap is much bigger. Young never-married black women outnumber young never-married black men with jobs by a startling two-to-one. This helps explain why although African-Americans are more likely than other races to say they value marriage, only 26% of black women are actually married, compared with 51% of whites.
As in other areas, the problems created by public school’s devaluation of blue-collar and non-academic male careers were worse, first, in the black community, where prison or drug dealing is now a major supporter/employer of young males–about 30% of younger black men without a high school diploma are in prison; the comparable figure for whites is 6%. Meanwhile, rising regulation and certification requirements for small businesses have made it especially hard for people to start their own small businesses; multi-year cosmetology school requirements to do hair weaving, for instance. Meanwhile, schools in poor districts are run for the benefit of their employees and unions, not for the students, and children living in those areas don’t get a chance at mastering even the basic high school education of 1950 (which was approximately at the level of today’s 4-year public university.) Unequipped to fit into Blue Model corporations and bureaucracies, they are un- or underemployed, and not stable enough to form a good family.
The raw ratio of bachelors to bachelorettes varies with age. There are 118 unmarried 25-year-old men for every 100 single women, since women are more likely to marry older partners. Around the age of 40, the ratio is roughly even. From then on, the surplus of men turns into a deficit: by the age of 64 there are only 62 unmarried men, with or without jobs, for every 100 unmarried women.
Overall 20% of Americans 25 or older, the highest share ever, have never said “I do.” That is partly because they are marrying later. Kim Parker, one of the study’s authors, reckons that kids are more cautious these days, whereas lovebirds of yore “used to leap into the unknown together.”
But some Americans are never marrying at all, either because they prefer not to, or because they can’t find the right person. Pew predicts that by 2030 28% of American men who were aged between 25-34 in 2010—and 23% of women—will never have tied the knot. In 1980 only 6% of 45-54 year olds had never been hitched. For men with not much education, the picture is especially grim. Among young American adults with a high school certificate or less, there are 174 never-married men for every 100 never-married women. The difference largely reflects the difficulty poorly-educated men have finding work.
Men and women with college degrees are still highly likely to wed and stay that way. But the cost of college can delay the day when young people feel they can afford an engagement ring, let alone a family. A third cited their finances as the reason they were not yet hitched, compared with just 20% of those over 35. As one Eminem fan at a recent music festival in Atlanta romantically put it “I’m just trying to sort things one at a time. I’ve got a girlfriend but I’ve also got college debt.”
What can we say from this?
• Large numbers of less advantaged men are being discarded and never allowed to gain responsibility;
• Blue Model programs locking children into bad schools and continuing the Drug War are partly responsible;
• Women have been empowered to do whatever they want professionally, but if they want a stable husband and family, many are out of luck;
• College for everyone has turned out to be a cruel waste for many and left them deeply in debt;
• Vocational education should be restored in importance and subsidized college loan programs reduced.
Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations
[From Death by HR: How Affirmative Action Cripples Organizations, available now in Kindle and trade paperback.]
Corporate HR Scrambles to Halt Publication of “Death by HR”
Nobody gets a job through HR. The purpose of HR is to protect their parent organization against lawsuits for running afoul of the government’s diversity extortion bureaus. HR kills companies by blanketing industry with onerous gender and race labor compliance rules and forcing companies to hire useless HR staff to process the associated paperwork… a tour de force… carefully explains to CEOs how HR poisons their companies and what steps they may take to marginalize this threat… It is time to turn the tide against this madness, and Death by HR is an important research tool… All CEOs should read this book. If you are a mere worker drone but care about your company, you should forward an anonymous copy to him.
More on Social Decay:
“Marriage Rate Lowest in a Century”
Making Divorce Hard to Strengthen Marriages?
The High Cost of Divorce
Divorced Men 8 Times as Likely to Commit Suicide as Divorced Women
Cuba: Where All but the Connected are Poor
“Postcards from Venezuela”
Ross Douthat on Unstable Families and Culture
“Income Inequality” Propaganda is Just Disguised Materialism
The Social Decay of Black Neighborhoods (And Yours!)
“Marriage Markets” – Marriage Beyond Our Means?
Real-Life “Hunger Games”: Soft Oppression Destroys the Poor
Why Did Black Crime Syndicates Fail to Go Legit?
“Why Are Great Husbands Being Abandoned?”
Public Schools in Poor Districts: For Control Not Education
Culture Wars: Peace Through Limited Government
Steven Pinker on Harvard and Meritocracy
“Breaking Bad”–The Lessons of Walter White