It has become a regular occurrence at conservative publications to note the strong correlation between traditional marriage and family and higher income levels. Take, for example, Ari Fleischer, who wrote the following in the Wall Street Journal last June:
If President Obama wants to reduce income inequality, he should focus less on redistributing income and more on fighting a major cause of modern poverty: the breakdown of the family.
He continues, “One of the differences between the haves and the have-nots is that the haves tend to marry and give birth, in that order.”
Despite my traditionalist leanings, I’ve always been a bit skeptical of these sorts of editorials. For example, contrast this with Ben Steverman’s recent article in Bloomberg:
Divorce among 50-somethings has doubled since 1990. One in five adults have never married, up from one in ten 30 years ago. In all, a majority of American adults are now single, government data show, including the mothers of two out of every five newborns.
These trends are often blamed on feminists or gay rights activists or hippies, who’ve somehow found a way to make Americans reject tradition.
But the last several years showed a different powerful force changing families: the economy.
He goes on: (more…)