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A new congressional report proves that the institutions of marriage and family are being systematically destroyed in America

Michael Snyder
End Of The American Dream [1]
October 7, 2020

The numbers that I am about to share with you are extremely sobering, and they should be a massive wake up call for all of us. 

Yesterday, I wrote an article [2] about how our society is breaking down everywhere we look, and nowhere is this more evident than in our marriages and in our families.

But without strong marriages and strong families, no society can thrive for long.  Recently, the Social Capital Project of the Joint Economic Committee Republicans released a report entitled “The Demise of the Happy Two-Parent Home” [3], but you probably never heard about it until now because it was almost entirely ignored by the mainstream media.

I have never seen a congressional report document the collapse of marriage and family in American society to such an extent, and to be honest it is quite surprising to see such a quality piece of work come out of Washington.

I have selected nine of the most alarming quotes from the report and put them in bold below.  Following each quote from the report, I am going to share some of my own commentary…

#1 Overall, between 1962 and 2019, the percentage of women ages 15-44 who were married dropped from 71 percent to 42 percent (Figure 1).16 [4] Furthermore, Figure 2 shows the percentage of women ages 30-34 who had never married increased from 7 percent in 1962 to 35 percent in 2019.17 [5]

Numbers for men are similar, but they were not included in the report.  We have never seen marriage rates collapse like this ever before, and most of the decline can be attributed to the fact that many young Americans simply do not see any reason to get married anymore.

These days, many would prefer to be free to run around having sex with whoever they want.  When they become dissatisfied with their current sexual partner, they just move on and find someone else.

#2 Today, around 45 percent of American children spend some time without a biological parent by late adolescence.3 [6] That is up from around one-third of children born in the 1960s and one-fifth to one-quarter born in the 1950s.4 [7] 

Study after study has shown that children do better with two parents, and so the fact that nearly half of our children have been raised by just one parent for at least a portion of their lives is extremely alarming.

I have tremendous respect for single parents, but if our society is going to thrive we need a whole lot more two parent households.

#3 Single parenthood is experienced by two-thirds of the children of mothers with less than a high school education and by eighty percent of black children.

Over the past several decades, impoverished Americans have increasingly been drawn to the ideology of the Democratic Party.

But the ideology of the Democratic Party does not value marriage and family, and in impoverished communities all across America the results have been absolutely disastrous.

Unfortunately, the Republican Party is increasingly moving away from traditional values as well, and that is an extremely alarming trend.

#4 Among women ages 19 to 44 who married between 1965 and 1974, just 11 percent had cohabited with their husbands prior to marriage, but that number jumped to 32 percent among those who married between 1975 and 1979 and continued to soar thereafter. For the past two decades, two-thirds of new marriages have been preceded by cohabitation.28 [8]

These days, the vast majority of young couples want to “live together” before they get married.

But study after study has shown that couples that “live together” before marriage have much less long-term success than couples that don’t.

In the old days, it was clearly understood that cohabitation prior to marriage was wrong, but these days hardly anyone wants to speak out against it.

#5 The decline in marriage and the increase in cohabitation has led to substantial growth in unwed childbearing. The percent of births to unmarried mothers has jumped from five percent in 1960 to 40 percent today (Figure 6).29 [9]

It is hard to believe that things have gotten this bad.

How in the world is our society going to be successful when 40 percent of our children are being born into unstable family situations?

These days, many young men don’t feel any responsibility for the children that they father, and that is something that must change if we ever want to have any hope of turning our country in the right direction.

#6 In a 2007 study researchers found that 50 percent of children born to cohabiting parents experienced a maternal partnership transition by their third birthday, compared to just 13 percent of children in married-parent families.32 [10] Thus, children born into households where the parents are not married are much more likely to see their parents break up.

This is yet more evidence that cohabitation is a bad idea.

The order is supposed to go like this – get married, live together and then have children.

But these days so many young couples are doing things in the exact opposite order, and the vast majority of the time that does not work out at all.

#7 As of 2019, 57 percent of highly-educated women ages 15-44 were married, compared to only 36 percent of moderately-educated women and 18 percent of women with low education (Figure 8).39 [11] These differences were much smaller in the mid-1960s, with less than ten percentage points separating the three groups in 1964.

Numbers for men are similar, but once again the numbers for men were not included in this report.

To be honest, I was a bit surprised by the huge differences among the various groups.

Does not having money make both men and women less desirable to potential marriage partners?

#8 Two-thirds of births (65 percent) among women with low education occur outside of marriage as of 2018 along with half (52 percent) of births to moderately-educated women (Figure 9). Among highly-educated women, however, just 11 percent occur outside marriage.40 [12] 

If you are a woman and you have a child outside of marriage while you are very young, it is very likely that you will have to work to support that child.

So any dreams of a higher education are often delayed, and in many cases those delays end up being permanent.

#9 Women with a bachelor’s degree and married for the first time are very likely to be married for a long time; 78 percent will still be married 20 years later. However, among women entering their first marriage who have some college but no bachelor’s degree, it is as likely as not that their marriage will end within 20 years. Among women with no more than a high school diploma, just 40 percent will still be in their first marriage after 20 years.

The U.S. has one of the highest divorce rates in the entire world, and things are especially bad in our impoverished communities.

As a result, vast numbers of children in our impoverished communities live in broken homes, and those that come from broken homes tend to be much more likely to gravitate toward crime, drugs and violence.

The bottom line is that if we want to fix America, we have got to fix our families.  In the report, the authors included a remarkable quote from Princeton University sociologist Sara McLanahan…

If we were asked to design a system for making sure that children’s basic needs were met, we would probably come up with something quite similar to the two-parent ideal. Such a design, in theory, would not only ensure that children had access to the time and money of two adults, it also would provide a system of checks and balances that promoted quality parenting. The fact that both parents have a biological connection to the child would increase the likelihood that the parents would identify with the child and be willing to sacrifice for that child, and it would reduce the likelihood that either parent would abuse the child.

For thousands of years, two parent families have worked, and the reason they have worked is because that is how things were originally designed.

Sadly, these days most Americans find traditional values repugnant, and they think that they have figured out a better way of doing things.

Of course the truth is that they have greatly deceived themselves, and if we stay on this current path there is absolutely no future for us as a nation.