By contrast, as I recently pointed out in The decline of marriage among poor and working-class Americans is partly a consequence of changes in the American economy.
In today’s postindustrial economy, it is harder for less-educated Americans, especially poor and working-class men, to find stable, decent-paying jobs.
Sure, I had some unusually angry outbursts as a child (like the time I threw my lunchbox across the dining hall at camp for no good reason) and had to endure my share of therapy for that anger.
But I have managed to steer clear of prison, earn a Ph. My life is proof positive, as Roiphe argues, that married-parent families “do not have a monopoly on joy or healthy environments or thriving children.” But, as a social scientist, I can also say that the academic research paints a much more complicated picture of the impact of family structure on children than does my life story or Roiphe’s experience.
But Hetherington, who like Roiphe embraces changing family structures, also was honest enough to admit that divorce tends to double a child’s risk of a serious negative outcome.
Specifically, she found that “twenty-five percent of youths from divorced families in comparison to 10 percent from non-divorced families did have serious social, emotional, or psychological problems.” Other research suggests that the children of never-married single parents tend to do somewhat worse than children of divorced single parents.
They are less likely to be able to monitor their kids.
They do not have a partner who can relieve them when they are tired or frustrated or angry with their kids.
Research by the Economic Mobility Project at Pew suggests that children from intact families are also more likely to rise up the income ladder if they were raised in a low-income family, and less likely to fall into poverty if they were raised in a wealthy family.
For instance, according to Pew’s analysis, 54 percent of today’s young adults who grew up in an intact two-parent home in the top-third of household income have remained in the top-third as adults, compared with just 37 percent of today’s young adults who grew up in a wealthy (top-third) but divorced family. Single mothers, even from wealthier families, have less time.
Take two contemporary social problems: teenage pregnancy and the incarceration of young males.