Something is happening to the American family.
Claire Cain Miller, writing at the New York Times, reports that—quote: “Marriage, which used to be the default way to form a family in the United States, regardless of income or education, has become yet another part of American life reserved for those who are most privileged.”
Back in the 1960s, it was the children of privilege who declared themselves independent of marriage. But as it turned out over time, those who have a greater economic investment tend to be far more conservative in terms of their actual lifestyle choices.
So the more education and income one has, the argument goes, the more an individual has to lose by making bad choices. Conversely, someone with very little income and who sees very little opportunity in the future effectively has less to lose by making those same bad choices.
In reality—as Brad Wilcox from the University of Virginia argues—there is a well-defined success sequence: finish school, get married, then have kids. Breaking that success sequence is one of the most fundamental problems we now face.