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Jesus said that the poor would always be with us. Despite the best efforts of philanthropists and redistributionists over the last two millennia, he has been right so far. Every nation in the world has poor and rich, separated by birth and luck and choice. The inequality between rich and poor, and its causes and remedies, are discussed ad nauseam in public policy debates, campaign platforms, and social media screeds. And finally, there is a type of inequality that everyone thinks about occasionally and that young single people obsess over almost constantly: inequality of sexual attractiveness.

But rarely does the public conversation about our changing economy, from the pages of the New York Times to the halls of the Brookings Institution, focus on questions of family structure.

This is a major oversight: Though few realize it, the retreat from marriage plays a central role in the changing economic landscape of American families, in race relations in America, and in the deteriorating fortunes of poor boys. First, Americans exhibit a growing class divide in marriage where the college-educated are more likely to enjoy high-quality, stable marriages than the less-educated.

For instance, since the divorce revolution of the s, divorce has fallen among college-educated Americans, while remaining comparatively common among Americans without college degrees. A similar gap is evident when it comes to childbearing out of wedlock.

About half of babies born to working-class and poor Americans are born outside of marriage today, but just a small fraction of babies born to the college-educated.

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The class divide in family life is concerning for many reasons, but chiefly because it imperils the well-being of lower-income children, who are increasingly likely to grow up outside of a married home. That family life has become more fragile and that economic inequality has become more extreme are not in dispute. Controversy continues, however, over which trend drove the other one - a question with implications for how we address the problems the two phenomena create.

Looking at the timing of these trends, there is strong evidence that family change preceded growing economic inequality.

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Specifically, the rise of nonmarital childbearing and divorce date back to the s, well before economic inequality began growing in the late s. Was the timing of these trends purely coincidental?

We believe the answer to this question is no.

Aug 29,   Other statistics indicate that, even in relationships where women earn more, they are still more likely to do more of the unpaid household work than their male partner. When facing income inequality in your relationship, be sure to account for everything you and your partner contribute to your life together. Remember: "All for one, and one. In , ongoing discussions about women's rights and feminism have surfaced equally impassioned debates about related issues, one of the most prominent being the inequality of dating. Some men are a little confused and frustrated when it comes to dating today but we explore the solution to their problems. Jan 08,   One Possible, Troubling Outcome of Online Dating: More Social Inequality Inequality. Second, I think it's possible that-in addition to undermining what's left of monogamy-the spread of Author: Philip Cohen.

Various scholars such as Bruce Western at Harvard and Molly Martin at Penn State have concluded that between 20 and 40 percent of the growth in family income inequality is associated with the retreat from marriage: the rise of divorce and of nonmarital childbearing, which leave many children in homes with only one potential income earner.

Init remained 60 percent as large. The explanation for that paradox: Single parenthood grew faster among blacks than among whites amid the family revolution of the last half century.

Demographic trends may have slowed progress toward racial equality. Third, the growing marriage divide is fueling a historically unusual type of gender inequality in low-income communities, as the work of MIT economist David Autor shows.

In a report called Wayward Sons and in new empirical research based in Florida, Autor and his colleagues explain that poor boys have been particularly hard hit by family breakdown in recent years. He discovered, for example, that poor boys from fatherless homes in Florida are much more likely to be absent from school than are poor girls from homes without fathers.

The fallout of fatherlessness has also hit poor boys harder than poor girls when it comes to school failure, violence, and incarceration. Why does marriage continue to make such a difference for families in contemporary America?

That means married families are more likely to pool incomes, create economies of scale, and avoid the economic challenges associated with supporting children across multiple households. Children of married parents, in turn, benefit not just from these economic assets, but also from consistently having the time, attention, advice, and emotional support of two adults, not just one.

A lesser-known economic advantage of marriage relates to how it affects men. But even today, many men are transformed by marriage in ways that make them significantly more successful in the labor market. That may be most evident in the income gap between bachelors and married men.

Putting all this together, college-educated parents and their kids are flourishing not only because of educational advantages, but also because the parents are more likely to be stably married. Less-educated parents are struggling economically not only because they face a tougher labor market, but also because their romantic relationships and marriages are more fragile - and they and their children are doubly disadvantaged as a result. The Left has a simple answer: money. But economic shifts are by no means the whole story.

And the academic research on family change in the last 50 years indicates that economic shifts only account for a minority of the retreat from marriage. What explains the rest? At least three other factors also underlie the decline of marriage in the U.

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First, in the realm of culture, a more live-and-let-live relationship mentality has arisen that makes individuals much less likely to prioritize marriage. To be sure, the vast majority of Americans still want to get and stay married. Due to cultural changes stemming from individualism, feminism, and the sexual revolution, however, they have become much less committed to the beliefs and behaviors that make a stable marriage more likely. But these broad cultural shifts are now less evident among the college-educated when it comes to their specific orientation towards marriage.

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When it comes to their own lives, their own relationships, and their own kids, well-educated Americans are surprisingly marriage-minded.

And in areas like Park Hill, while the majority-black side of the neighborhood struggles with poverty and gang violence, middle and upper class families-mostly non-minorities-live in architecturally ornate homes valued at over a half-million dollars.

These inequalities are more than visual-they add to the huge burden that already weighs on those of us who face economic hardship. Research has demonstrated that inequalities in the housing market drive up rents, and Denver is no exception. While I am grateful that my children and I have been able to live in a two-bedroom apartment for eight years, my rent went up by 11 percent this year and it has been a struggle to meet that increase every month.

At this point, I cannot afford a three-bedroom rental which would be helpful to accommodate my growing childrenlet alone secure the money to put down a deposit. And there are also psychological impacts that arise from these inequalities. A study highlighted this phenomenon when it revealed that countries with high levels of income inequality face high rates of mental illness.

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In no country was this more evident than in the United States, where income inequality is associated with heightened risk of depressive symptoms and anxiety disorders. My children and I are frugal and enjoy everything we can on a minimal budget-which means not going to full-price movies more than two to three times a year, rarely visiting museums or attending events that cost money, and avoiding vacations.

In fact, last summer my kids and I took our first vacation in years-and it was 48 hours long.

Mar 28,   I recently discovered for myself the frenzy that has consumed my generation: online dating. In addition to the old standbys of and OkCupid, young, unattached people are spoiled for choice with a bevy of apps: Tinder, the one best suited for one-time hookups, Hinge for more serious entanglements, Bumble as a so-called feminist alternative (only women can initiate messages), and . Apr 21,   Is dating now based on economic inequality or class? Dating apps like match and Zoosk have always asked for an income range when filling out a profile stating that it helped with their matching algorithms. POF takes it to another extreme when asking the profile set up question, "Do you have a . Mar 29,   Is Tinder Making Economic Inequality Worse? In theory, dating apps make it easier to meet people outside our social strata. In practice, we swipe right on people with similar socioeconomic.

While we appreciate all that we are able to do and what we do have, it only exacerbates our hardship when we struggle to make rent month after month, and then look across the street to see a manicured lawn, two nice cars, and a double- or triple-sized garage attached to the five bedroom house that holds a family of four.

When other kids are benefiting from enrichment activities outside of the classroom and have nannies to facilitate the processmy kids go without because I am not always able to be there at drop-off or pick-up time due to my unusual work schedule, and I cannot always afford the fees.

And then there are health issues. Unfortunately, the same principle applies to mental health care.

Jordan Peterson: The awful truth behind economic inequality

And when those in poverty or on the brink of it cannot afford care, mental health needs often go untreated. Meanwhile, those who can afford a therapist or psychologist get the help that they need and it positively impacts their health. And as the gap widens between those who have enough and those who are barely making it, it threatens to divide us as a country and as a society.

Two of the most widely cited statistics on inequities within the American labor market are that the average woman earns just 79 cents for every dollar earned by a man, and that the black unemployment rate is typically double that of whites.

While these statistics are partly accounted for by differences in occupation or education, gender pay inequities persist even among men and women in the same joband the two-to-one unemployment disparity exists even for blacks and whites with the same level of education.

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What this means is that even among otherwise socioeconomically similar individuals, we can still observe differences in pay or employment that arise from discrimination. Although the explicitly discriminatory policies and practices that created these disparities are now illegal-thanks in part to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act ofwhich outlawed employment and pay discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex or national origin-the inequities persist.

Regardless of whether these biases are conscious or subconscious, patterns of old-fashioned segregation stand in the way of eradicating them.

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Recently, I gained some profound insight into this phenomenon from a most unlikely place: a second-grade music class. The fact that it was a music class in a racially, ethnically, and socioeconomically diverse elementary school offered a powerful symbolism.

Here were kids from two different classrooms, with distinct cultures, family backgrounds, and personalities blending their voices together in harmony. Yet, even with the freedom to sit almost anywhere they chose, the students self-segregated by race and gender to a large degree.

This seemed innocent enough at first. However, the broader implications of this tendency became more evident as the class went on. Halfway through the period, the kids began an exercise in which one student would bounce a ball to the rhythm of the song the class was singing. Each time they finished a verse, that student would pass the ball on to someone else to continue the song.

After a few rounds, one of the girls in the class spoke up about the fact that the boys were only passing the ball to other boys. When the teacher asked if other people had noticed the same thing, every girl and even a few boys in the class agreed. After enlisting the students to come up with a solution to make the game fairer to those who had been excluded, the exercise resumed under the new rules.

Shortly after, another student mentioned that only students from one classroom were getting the ball. By the time they worked through that problem, time had run out for them to complete the exercise. There were at least three important takeaways from this simple example that can be applied to the way we perceive and address race and gender inequities in this country.

I was heartened to see a second-grade teacher address biases within her classroom. With 2. But mass incarceration is not the end of the story. Each year, more thanindividuals are released from lock up and return to their communities. And then America proceeds to punish them for having been punished.

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The felony drug ban is just one example. Adopted by Congress twenty years ago, the ban imposes a lifetime restriction on the cash assistance program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families TANF and nutrition assistance SNAP for anyone convicted of a state or federal drug felony, unless states opt out.

In states where the ban applies, a person released from a long prison sentence could be denied basic assistance at a time of extreme vulnerability and risk.

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A study by The Sentencing Project found that in the 12 states that impose the lifetime ban, an estimate women are impacted. If we include the other 24 states that impose a partial ban, the number of people affected is significantly higher. And because drug law enforcement is conducted with racial biases, people of color are disproportionately denied assistance. The felony drug ban was consistent with other efforts in Congress to get tough on formerly incarcerated individuals.

In the early s, Congress began to erect barriers and cut services for people struggling to reenter society. First, Pell grants were barred for incarcerated individuals, ensuring that most could not receive a college education prior to release. Then restrictions were enacted to deny people with drug convictions access to welfare benefits, public housing, and financial aid for higher education.

Largely missing from the debate was any discussion of whether such post-incarceration punishments are effective or even counterproductive. Two decades later, there is little evidence that these tough on crime policies have improved public safety.

In general, post-incarceration punishment does little to deter crime, as most people are unaware that a conviction could result in the loss of public benefits.

For example, one study found that of 26 women facing drug charges, not a single one had been aware that she could lose food stamps or welfare benefits as a result of a conviction.

RELATED: The Failure of the Family Widens America's Economic and Cultural Divides Third, the growing marriage divide is fueling a historically unusual type of gender inequality in low-income. Jan 23,   Economic inequality for women costs an estimated $9tn per year in the developing world, according to a report released Friday by ActionAid, an NGO that . Mar 12,   Contra Marx, sexual inequality is far worse than economic inequality. Poverty doesn't feel so bad when you have pu**y. History's most successful societies had price controls and rationing of women, so that any man of sound mind and body could have a wife, and free markets in everything else.

Meanwhile, the felony drug ban is counterproductive to safe reentry. After an individual leaves prison, food and welfare benefits can help meet basic survival needs as she searches for a job and housing.

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The denial of such assistance increases the likelihood that formerly incarcerated individuals will return to criminal activity to provide sustenance for their families.

And when welfare benefits are not available to offset the cost of drug treatment, it is less likely that former prisoners struggling with addiction will be able to live drug-free and avoid a return to prison.

A study by researchers at the Yale School of Medicine even found that denying SNAP to women with felony drug convictions is harmful to public safety. In recent years, there has been a broad re-thinking of policies that put thousands of people behind bars for long prison terms. States in every region of the country have scaled back harsh penalties that have contributed to mass incarceration.

In Congress, a bipartisan group of Senators has introduced the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Actwhich would reduce the impact of harsh mandatory minimum penalties and create rehabilitative programming in federal prisons. The bill would mean fewer people locked up for decades for low-level drug offenses and it would free up funds that could be used for crime prevention and substance abuse treatment.

Federal sentencing reform is indeed necessary to reduce excessive rates of incarceration, which have had diminishing returns for public safety over the years. But along with that should come a reconsideration of post-incarceration punishments that strip former prisoners of the basic assistance they need to get back on their feet.

In the past year, Texas and Alabama have taken steps to opt out of the felony drug ban. Until Congress acts to repeal the ban altogether, other states should follow their lead. It is time to stop punishing people after they have been released from prison-not only to improve the life prospects of people who have served their time, but also as part of a broader effort to strengthen public safety and our communities. Related Episode

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