The End of Middle America?

From the NY Daily News:

Foreclosures, plant closings, offshored jobs, underwater mortgages, miserable rates of unemployment, stagnating incomes: Is there any end to the woes of the struggling American middle? Apparently not, because now comes news of a trend guaranteeing trouble ahead for the more than half of the nation that make up the moderately educated and moderately earning middle — even if the economy improves.

That seismic shift, outlined in a new report from the National Marriage Project and the Institute for American Values, is towards more divorce, more out of wedlock births and, ipso facto, fewer kids with a hopeful future.

Family breakdown, to put it simply, has hit white middle America big time.

Researchers have known for a while now that there is a significant “marriage gap” between affluent couples and low-income, largely minority, ones. The children of well-to-do college educated couples are considerably more likely to be growing up in a home with both their mother and father present than the children of the poor — who are more often than not living without their fathers. It surprises most people to hear it, but rates of divorce among college-educated women have actually been declining since 1980.

The proportion of degreed women having children outside of marriage, always very low, remains at a very modest 6%, while among those without a high school degree the rate stands at a much, much higher 54%.

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