Over the past few years, the left has launched an informal campaign against traditional marriage, making it seem like an "old-fashioned" institution. New research indicates, however, that marriage is actually the key factor separating poor families from wealthier ones.
Professor Bill Galston, President Clinton’s domestic policy advisor and now a senior fellow at Brookings, explained in the early 1990s that an American need only do three things to avoid living in poverty: graduate from high school, marry before having a child, and have that child after age twenty. Only 8 percent of people who do so, he reported, will be poor, while 79 percent who fail to do all three will.
Sociologists have referred to keeping these things in proper order as the “success sequence.” It remains true, according to a new research investigation from the Brookings and the American Enterprise institutes. It takes a deeper look at this “first comes love, then comes marriage” sequence by class and generation.
The increase of baby carriages coming before marriage is terribly alarming among the working poor. Working-class women are nearly three times more likely to have babies out of wedlock than upper-class women. Poor women are about five times more likely. These two groups are far less likely to be married overall and twice as likely to be cohabiting, suffering further from inherent instability of living together without marriage.
These troubling family-path trends leading to decreased life success are unfortunately true for millennials, as well.
A recent report on this topic focusing on millennials reports that 97 percent of those who follow the success sequence—earn at least a high-school diploma, work, and marry before having children—will not be poor as they enter their 30s. This is largely true for ethnic minorities and those who grew up in poor families. But sadly, fewer millennials are keeping these things in order, compared to their Boomer and Xer forbearers.
These statistics are very alarming, as they show that the family unit has completely broken down in the U.S. A staggering 72 percent of African American children grow up in a single parent household in the U.S. Meanwhile, inner-city gang violence and gun crimes are on the rise, as children with no parental guidance are searching for alternative ways to find support in the world.
It's clear that when the traditional family unit breaks down, civilized society quickly follows it. Without traditional homes, more and more children are growing up without strong values.
Furthermore, these children find themselves in a vicious cycle of poverty, as they often end up parenting children out of wedlock themselves. The left, based on its actions, seems unfazed that the very policies it promotes are in great part what are causing this vicious cycle to perpetuate.
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