“We have to destroy the married family to save the married family”

That is my take on this post from Audacious Epigone.  The post is a discussion of a “comment of the week” from one of his commenters.  It mostly talks about the au courant notion of a coming asset crash, almost with a sort of glee.  The same commenter makes the following remark in the comment thread for the post:

The plutocrats and the upper middle class and the government workers will be wiped out when the currency collapse wipes out the debt.

Problem for the commenter and perhaps even Mr. Epigone is that the three groups mentioned constitute the bulk of married parents of children under 18, married couples in general and a substantial minority of cohabiting/single parents of children under 18.  That is to say, such a crash will wipe out the very people having the children right now.  One can argue about whether they’re doing a good job with the kids or having a sufficiency of them (after all, I certainly spend plenty of time on such topics, lol), but at some point, the right (whether its more dissident side or its more mainstream sides who frankly share similar views about asset bubbles and crashes) needs to grasp that the “rich” or “affluent” or “upper income households” or “the government types” make up the mothers and fathers of most of our children.

The right has to stop hoping for the dissolution of 10-15 million married parent families, of a million solo/cohabiting families and of 20-30 million married couple families with no under-18s at home.  That is what would happen if these dreams of a big asset crash or currency collapse come true in the next few years.  It won’t punish your political enemies, unless now everyone who got married before having kids or at least made 75k+/yr first (cohabiting high earners and increasingly some of the high earning solo parents) is your “political enemy”.

Even many lower-earning family households are reliant on profit shares, bonuses based on company performance, and market returns on endowed funds for the nonprofits or educational institutions they are employed with.

I’m not saying no crash or collapse will happen.  It could, for all we know.  But I am saying that the right should be promoting how to cramdown debt for such households, and how to claw back bigger shares of equity and company profits for the class of people producing our future taxpayers and future at all, and who have been converted by the actual elites into a dependent wage-earning class.

In other words, the right should be acting like it understands the changes in the demographic makeup of married families, that they are mostly college educated, mostly 1 to 1.5-earner households and that the “top of the bottom” for married parents is essentially the median household income.  That is, making the median household income (63k in 2019) for married parents is around the 25-26th percentile (as of 2018) for their 22-23 million strong pool of households.

Also, as I already alluded to, many of these households do NOT have mom working full-time outside the home, and in fact much of the increase in double-income parent households has happened in the 25th-50th percentiles, while higher income households in the top half of married parents are continuing to see women exit full-time and frequently any paid employment during elementary and secondary school years.  So maybe it’s time for some new narratives.

From college to modular education.

The evidence is pretty clear that the college-for-all model has missed enough intelligent, capable people that we keep taking stabs at modular educational models, oriented around sitting for exams and completing x number to demonstrate competency.  This has the benefit of matching up more with actual white-collar, highly paid work these days, which is frequently project-bound but open-ended as to how you complete it and it also has the benefit of not costing average or below intelligence people buckets of money if they can’t hack it, which will be at least as frequent as it is now.  But there’d be tiers they could hack and still get decent pay.

It’s also an approach that works well with unionizing/guild-izing at even very high pay levels.

It wasn’t that bad a model for IT, although rampant fraud combined with unrestricted immigration broke it, but then rampant fraud combined with unrestricted immigration is a major part of why college is no longer much of a filter for what college-educated parents believe it to be a filter for.  That model is returning in IT with the bootcamp approach, where depending on the subfield, anywhere from 1/100 to 1/20 workers is coming out of 6-18 month bootcamp straight into employment full-time, usually at wages above 50k/yr.  And that is a large percentage given how little time the model itself has had to form up.  But companies are already arranging their hiring around pulling in some bootcamp people and having a special process for that.  In contrast it took decades to see the same for the “diversity and inclusion” industry, which is more reliant on racking up degrees for that pipeline.

We now live in a world where an 18 or 19yo can already have a bachelor’s degree if they are really set on doing so without having to leave home and sometimes without even spending money.

We have something like 75,000 18 and 19yos a year graduating with BAs, MAs or PhDs/JDs (mostly BAs).  We have 125k or so with AAs.

The AA by 19 pool is 60% male, the BA+ by 19 pool is probably (estimates are pretty spiky) 80% male.   The AA numbers are almost 10% of the total (~1.5-1.7million) for age 20-24 AAs and the BA+ numbers are around 2-3% of the total (around 3.4 million) for 20-24 BA+.  And even among 20-24yos, we are up to roughly a quarter million with an MA or higher.

Given how rapidly the early college thing is increasing, it may be that we start seeing 300, 400, 500k such people annually over the next decade. This would be in line with the trend that began, as far as NCES recording of it, in the early 1990s, when about 1 in 5 people over age 25 had  BAs or  higher (all races) and the younger set finishing college young was a few thousand which over 20 years increased by an order of magnitude.

College completion has flattened in recent years (what marginal increases are happening, interestingly, are putting male completion of BAs ahead of female completion in the latest data after years of the opposite) and at this point the mix of *how* it’s completed is changing, so we’re no longer getting more and more people across the line, but instead having more and more “weird” ways of finishing increase.

Total Fertility Rate (TFR) chart by household income from twitter

It’s not mine, but I’m not sure who did it, it floats around on twitter in fertility discussions.  If anyone drops me a line, I’ll add an attribute, or when I find time to dig out a reference.  It is estimated TFR by household income.  I will probably post some variations on this chart showing the percentage of children represented at each level of household income later this week.

The college graduate, well-paid never-married single mother is now a thing.

There has arisen a growing class of never-married mothers who have bachelor’s degrees, make $50,000 per year or more, and who do represent a distinct class among college moms with somewhat different goals and desires than the broader married college moms.

For example, this group of mothers is perfectly fine with lots of socialist-type policies and government expansion, as their well-paid professional-managerial class jobs are overwhelmingly in nonprofit and government work.  That “equity coordinator” for the local Chamber of Commerce is likely to be such a mother.  Or a communications director with a school district.  Or a regional manager for a network of homeless shelters.  Or maybe the director of a small local one that caters specifically to teenage mothers.

The wages for all this sort of thing are almost never “six-figure”, but generally in the 25-35 dollars per hour range.  This is well-paying for two people.  These mothers overwhelmingly have one child out of wedlock and don’t have additional children via later marriage.  The broadly modal tendency is to have the child in their late 30s.

Women in this group absolutely have a massive investment in continuing the degree ratchet where more and more degrees are listed in job requirements for the same pay.  Such women also can’t afford private school and generally have a distaste for homeschooling even in areas where academic secular homeschooling is normalized (which is nearly anywhere slightly urban in much of the country).  So they have a strong tendency to support the general “how much more money for public schools? dunno, MORE MORE MORE” position that is not exactly uncommon on the Democrat-voting side of the political aisle.

Counterintuitively, many of these never-married college moms support massive amounts of gun control because they *don’t* live in dangerous gentrifying urban areas, but tend to live the exurb or semi-rural life.  It’s cheaper and since they tend towards government jobs anyway and are generally only supporting two people, they don’t even have to worry about commuting tradeoffs.  So since they tend to live in low crime small cities and towns, it’s all abstract for them.  It’s a very different context than urban, single, childless professional class women who support such things.

And of course, because these women have one child, they tend to support child-friendly things, but child-friendly frequently isn’t mother-friendly unless it’s a mother of one.  They don’t think of, for example, healthcare access in terms of logistics scheduling and wrangling multiple children (among married parents, if you went from bottom quartile to top quartile, the average number of kids would be something like 1/2/2/3) because relatively few of these college moms have 2 kids (and yes, it is usually twins if they do).  They tend to only see that debate in terms of costs and networks.

Anyway, there are a lot of interesting traits to this new self-supporting class of mothers who never marry and have college degrees.  But a major thing is that these women have a lot more free time to be on social media presenting various ideological concepts as normative for college moms in general when that, in fact, is not the case.

Unmarried first birth percentages for college moms, 2018

From PhD to “never finished”, women of all races, minus California which stopped breaking out marital status in 2017 (it doesn’t change the percentages, the pattern is the same there as well for earlier years).

PhD/Professional: ~7%

MA: ~9%

BA: ~17%

AA: ~33%

Some college without any degree completion: ~57%

For perspective, the level of college education for women of all races aged 25-29 is as follows:

AA or additional education beyond: ~52%

BA or additional education beyond: ~41%

MA or additional education beyond: ~11%