Un-affordability in America is leading to fewer marriages and fewer children

From nomadic times, to the height of civilization, the most important and fundamental building block of any society is not the government, its military, or its economy, but its family structure.

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We are seeing and have seen the effects of children raised in households with less than two parents, and sociologists the world over agree that a child’s future prospects are easily cut in half if their home life is fractured or in chaos while they are growing up.  And whether it is in the black communities (72% born out of wedlock in 2010), the UK overall (47.5 born out of wedlock in 2013), or the U.S. overall (40% born out of wedlock), the results of family units having less than two parents are lower literacy rates, higher chances of crime and imprisonment, and less economic productivity for the children of that generation.

As you can see from the above chart, the escalation for single parent families began to occur in the 1960’s and continues straight through the 1980’s where it leveled off between the boom years of 1990 and 2000.  However, since the start of the 21st century this percentage has suddenly jumped higher once again, and has been rising steadily leading up to the 2008 Credit Crisis and beyond.

“The divorce rate in the United States appeared to peak statistically in 1980, when there existed the likelihood that more than 40 percent of the marriages made that year would end in divorce. Expressed as a ratio, 5.3 persons per 1,000 persons in 1983 were divorced; in 1950, the ratio was 2.6 per 1,000. Much of the 1980 peak has been attributed to the introduction of consent or no-fault divorce that took place in virtually every American state during the 1960s and early 1970s. As divorces became easier to obtain, the applications became more frequent.

— IC Gale Group

Yet while changes to divorce law and the consequences of feminism dictated the family structures in two previous decades, what fundamental issue is causing the current epidemic of single family homes, and out of wedlock births?

The answer appears to be economic.

“A study led by Andrew J. Cherlin, professor of public policy at Johns Hopkins University, finds men and women in counties with greater income inequality were less likely to marry before having a child. The finding pertained mostly to those who hadn’t graduated from college.

Prof. Cherlin and his co-authors concluded that a lack of jobs in the middle of the labor market was the main reason these young adults were delaying marriage and moving straight to having children. The paper was published in the American Sociological Review.

— Wall Street Journal

It is both easy and correct to attest that much of the out of wedlock births occurring today are in large part due to the structure of the welfare system, which pays women to raise their children without a father figure, or secondary income stream.  And ever since the 2008 financial crisis, the number of people going on welfare, food stamps, or other government subsidy has increased by more than 40%, and where more than a third of every American receives some form of a handout from the government trough.

But spurning marriage and having children out of wedlock is not the only side of this discussion.  The fact of the matter is, Americans are actually having fewer children altogether, and this too can be attributed to the enormous cost of raising a child in an era where the purchasing power of the dollar, and the destruction of good paying jobs, have made it nearly impossible to sustain any real standard of living.

“In general, the cost of child care alone, when adjusted for inflation, has climbed nearly twice as fast as overall prices since the recession ended in 2009.

— Wall Street Journal

“Birth rates among American women ages 20 to 29 years old hit historic lows in the years right before and after the Great Recession, according to a new report that raises the possibility that a major shift in the ages when women tend to have kids is on the horizon.

The birth rates for women in their 20s saw a 15 percent drop from 2007 to 2012, the Urban Institute report released Tuesday found. The decrease contributed to falling birth rates for women overall, after more than three decades of relative stability.


So in the end, whether it is through government or elitist agendas, the destruction of religious and moral constructs, or simply a matter of economics, the facts are that the once strong nuclear family structure that made America and the Western world great and strong is deteriorating rapidly, and the current future generation has little desire to ensure that the generation that follows will be large enough, or secure enough, to reverse the eroding landscape that is the foundation stone of our society.

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Guerrilla Economist Rogue Money

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