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Scott Winship @swinshi
, 13 tweets, 8 min read Read on Twitter
Just out! “Love, Marriage, and the Baby Carriage: The Rise in Unwed Childbearing,” the latest from @SenMikeLee ‘s Social Capital Project within @JECRepublicans (If you gagged at the title, that’s all me.) /1…
@SenMikeLee @JECRepublicans We suss out why the share of births to unmarried couples jumped from 5% in 1960 to 40% today. Half of all births begin as an unwed pregnancy, including 2/3 of first births to women under 30. /2
@SenMikeLee @JECRepublicans That’s a major social capital problem. In our first report, What We Do Together, we note the Project’s emphasis on the “middle layers” of society—space btwn individual & state. In words of Yuval Levin, middle layers “begin in loving family attachments” /3
@SenMikeLee @JECRepublicans Single-parent families can obviously be healthy for kids—I hope mine is—but just as obviously, it’d be better if more kids were born into planned, happy two-parent families. (We’ll return to this in future work.) /4
@SenMikeLee @JECRepublicans What do we find? Most important causes have been increase in pool of never-married ppl (more single people=more unwed pregnancies) & falling shotgun marriage rates (marriage between conception and birth). /5
@SenMikeLee @JECRepublicans Shotgun marriage looks like the single most important factor for previously childless women under 30. 58% of births to them occur outside marriage. Would’ve been 26% if shotgun marriage had stayed at ’60 rate. /6
@SenMikeLee @JECRepublicans Teen sex and pregnancy among single people of all ages stopped rising in the 1980s (HIV scare?), but unwed birth share continued to rise. Reason? Less shotgun marriage and fewer abortions. /7
@SenMikeLee @JECRepublicans Remarkably, abortions (as a share of pregnancies) are rarer today than when abortion was mostly illegal pre-Roe. True both for married and single women. Less unintended preg & less stigma re unwed births. /8
@SenMikeLee @JECRepublicans A rising share of unwed births are from pregnancies that mothers say were intentional. Account for half of unwed births today. /9
@SenMikeLee @JECRepublicans Bottom line is that 3x as many births today are from unwed pregnancies vs ’60, & only 9% of these pregnancies are followed by a shotgun marriage (down from 43% in early ‘60s!) /10
@SenMikeLee @JECRepublicans As if these results were too boring and uncontroversial, we attribute the changes primarily to rising *affluence*. Stronger attn. to non-material needs meets rising ability to meet them. We’re unpersuaded by “marriageable men” explanations /11
@SenMikeLee @JECRepublicans Hope you enjoy the paper. Reflects a ton of work, particularly from @RachelSheffiel2 Eventually we’ll share the data, including on sexual activity, pregnancies, births, abortions, and marriages. The note to Figure 7 is 2,200 words... /12
@SenMikeLee @JECRepublicans @RachelSheffiel2 Up next: a new social capital index for states and counties. ETA early 2018. But for now, check out the report. Thanks! /fin…
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