Behavior Analysis Paper
April 3, 2012
New York Time Article Summary:
This article reports on an enormous cultural change in American society. For the first time in U.S. history, more than half (53%) of the children being born to mothers under the age of 30 are doing so outside of marriage. The analysis in the article is that this is due to two major cultural shifts: 1) women are becoming more and more economically successful and independent compared to men; and 2) there has been a great decline in the stigma attached to single motherhood. The article also describes interesting demographic differences in this trend. Among mothers of all ages, 59 percent of births still occur within marriage, so the trend toward single motherhood is happening mostly in younger women. There are also huge racial and ethnic differences in this trend. While only 29% of all white births are to single mothers, the figure is 53% for Latinos and 73% for blacks. There is also a sharp difference in these statistics according to the educational level of the mothers. While 92% of college-educated women are married when they give birth, the figure is 62% for those with some post-secondary schooling, and only 43% for women with a high school education or less. Economically, as one women interviewed for the article put it, “Women used to rely on men, but we don’t need to any more”. Over the past 30 years, the income of men with some college but no degrees has fallen by 8%, while the income of their female counterparts has risen by 8%. The social changes supporting this trend are also important. With divorce being so easy, there is much less respect for marriage, and certainly there is much less social stigma and shame about being a single mother. A long time ago, many marriages took place when a couple who were dating found that the woman was pregnant (they married to save her “honor”). While liberals put most of the...
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