It used to be called illegitimacy. Now it is the new normal. After steadily rising for five decades, the share of children born to unmarried women has crossed a threshold: more than half of births to American women under 30 occur outside marriage.
Once largely limited to poor women and minorities, motherhood without marriage has settled deeply into middle America. The fastest growth in the last two decades has occurred among white women in their 20s who have some college education but no four-year degree, according to Child Trends, a Washington research group that analyzed government data…
One group still largely resists the trend: college graduates, who overwhelmingly marry before having children. That is turning family structure into a new class divide, with the economic and social rewards of marriage increasingly reserved for people with the most education.
“Marriage has become a luxury good,” said Frank Furstenberg, a sociologist at the University of Pennsylvania.
I can’t help thinking that this trend will be very bad for the country. Women with children and without college educations have a whole lot on their plate and not a lot of time or money to deal with it. Children who grow up in poorer, single-parent households tend to have significantly higher problems in school and elsewhere. Many will end up as wards of the state, in one sense or another.
The things we want to suppress, we tax. The things we want to encourage, we subsidize. We are taxing the hell out of success, and subsidizing dependency, even as we attack the old institutions which formed the basis for what we used to call morality.
This is what you get.