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The divide in the timing of childbirth is even starker.Fewer than one in 10 mothers with a bachelor’s degree are unmarried at the time of their child’s birth, compared to six out of 10 mothers with a high-school degree.And for those already in serious relationships, the loss of a job can be devastating in its own way.One man I met, a 51-year-old who used to work at a car plant in Detroit, had been unemployed on and off for three years.(As is standard in sociology, my interviewees were promised confidentiality.) Over that period, his marriage fell apart.“I’ve got no money and now she’s got a job,” he told me.Christian Connection makes it easy to break the ice.
(It’s important to point out that this study and similar research on employment and marriage focus on opposite-sex marriages, and a different dynamic may be at work among same-sex couples, who tend to be more educated.)In doing research for a book about workers’ experiences of being unemployed for long periods, I saw how people who once had good jobs became, over time, “unmarriageable.” I talked to many people without jobs, men in particular, who said that dating, much less marrying or moving in with someone, was no longer a viable option: Who would take a chance on them if they couldn’t provide anything?Every day Christians meet on the boards and discuss topics from Christian dating experiences, church life, to current events.Over the last several decades, the proportion of Americans who get married has greatly diminished—a development known as well to those who lament marriage’s decline as those who take issue with it as an institution.They also tended to have fewer children, though the share of children born to unmarried parents, and living in poverty, grew.
What was producing these trends, the researchers argue, was the rising number of men who could no longer provide in the ways they once did, making them less attractive as partners.
Because the manufacturing sector has historically paid high wages to people with little education, the disappearance of these sorts of jobs has been devastating to working-class families, especially the men among them, who still outnumber women on assembly lines.