Why the retreat from marriage? Marriage rates have been declining for years in this country, but exactly why they have remains unclear. That’s because, while overall marriage rates are down, more affluent Americans tend to get and remain married. Indeed, non-marital childbearing among women with a college education is about 8%, i.e. almost exactly what it was in 1960. The decline in marriage is pretty much confined to blue collar workers and the poor.
And that’s a brain teaser. Why would the very people who financially need marriage the most be the ones who tend to forego it? Married men, particularly those with children earn significantly more than their unmarried and/or childless counterparts. And in any case, the simple fact is that almost any adult can earn more than the incremental cost of his/her presence in the household. Mom and baby require X amount to meet their expenses; add Dad and the household requires more money, but the increased amount is something all but the most dysfunctional adults can easily earn. Two earners are better than one in almost all cases.