The Rise and Downfall Of The American Single Mother
Bryce Covert, 7/16/2012
This weekendâ€™s New York Times took a deep look at the potential link between the enormous increase in single parenthood over recent years and growing income inequality. It tracked two mothers, Jessica Schairer, single mother of three, and her boss Chris Faulkner, married mother of two.
Schairer didnâ€™t finish her college degree and didnâ€™t marry the man she had her children with, and now she struggles to get by, relying on food stamps and low wages. Faulkner, on the other hand, â€śdid standard things in standard order,â€ť as reporter Jason DeParle puts it: â€śhigh school, college, job, marriage and children.â€ť
Certainly itâ€™s easy to look at individual families like these and see a string of individual choices. But if we zoom out and look at the society in which those choices are made, different patterns emerge. Itâ€™s true that more and more children are growing up in single parent households, and many of these families struggle to get by. But thatâ€™s not an accident of poor choices: while single parenthood has been skyrocketing, weâ€™ve also been paring back the supports that could help these families stay afloat. Rather than wringing our hands and bemoaning lower marriage rates, we might better spend….”