Thursday, March 28, 2013

Changes in Family and Opportunity in Our Society: Three Media Stories

Kay Hymowitz, Brad Wilcox, and Kelleen Kaye wrote a thoughtful piece that appeared on March 15th in the Wall Street Journal. Their article, entitled The New Unmarried Moms, talks about the fact that childbearing is now exploding among unmarrieds in their 20s.

If you read my blog regularly, you know that there is a constant, running argument about the chicken and egg dynamics between family structure, family stability, commitment between two parents, and economic opportunities and outcomes. If you have not already seen their piece, I encourage you to read it because it is an excellent example of putting all these variables in one place, with a considered analysis of how they intersect.

If you want to go further on these themes, there was an excellent presentation at The Brookings Institute on March 20th. This too, I highly recommend for those you who are interested in these societal trends and thoughtful discussions about them. There are two presentations, both under the theme Knot Yet (here and here), and they include noted experts and commentators: Ron Haskins (moderating), David Lapp, Brad Wilcox, Isabel Sawhill, Andrew Cherlin, Jared Bernstein, Ross Douthat, and Jamelle Bouie. 

And finally, I want to recommend a third, recent article the media, entitled Study of Men’s Falling Income Cites Single Parents in the New York Times on March 20th. This one focuses on the economic plight of men in the context of family trends. Among the major points raised by Binyamin Appelbaum in this article is that “the economic struggles of male workers are both a cause and an effect of the breakdown of traditional households.” The piece is related to a growing concern about the place of men in all of the societal changes. One of the important points Applebaum makes is that, for those at the advantaged part of the spectrum, women have gotten the message that education is crucial for getting and keeping good jobs, but men do not seem to be seeing or taking the same opportunities.

It is very concerning that a growing number of men not to have an important place in either economic or family roles. Advances made by women are terrific, but something of great importance is simultaneously happening to men who are economic (and family wise) disadvantaged.

There you have it: Three, recent, important doses of information about important family and economic trends. I encourage you to take in all three sources if you have the time and the interest.