A thread I put together on twitter during COVID, lightly edited into a blog post follows below. Just a roundup of the implications of demographic change beyond just income stuff.
Many believe married parents of children under 18 are mostly Repubs and make “middle class” 50-60k a year and work for small businesses and that college parents are a small % of all married parents. Here’s the reality.
The median household income for married parents is about 100k (~104k as of 2019 ACS) from current ACS data. The BOTTOM QUARTILE starts around 65k and below. Yes, making 5k/month puts you at the “top of the bottom” 25% of married parents. 4k/month, the top of the bottom 15% (only 1/6 married parent households make that much or less per year).
As for educational background, at this point a MAJORITY of married parents are college educated. Around half of ALL parents have a BA+. Mass college education has certain effects the right appears to be totally blind to. So the average married parent household is a six figure one, and at least one parent finished a BA or more.
Whatever that is, it’s not a recipe for traditional Republican political dominance among married people. And go figure, they’re starting to lose married folks.
Now let’s think about employment status. What are married parents doing to earn enough to have such a high, six-figure median income, where 50k isn’t even bottom 20%? Honestly they’re mostly working in STEM+education+government, in roughly that order.
This is why I’ve been pushy/testy about “muh small biz” stuff going around. They are important, very much so, but married parents are all-in on too big to fail institutions. Because we need the money/(illusion of) security. Millions of married parents get paid in stock grants and equity stakes. 100s of 1000s of married parents were the government workers making lists of essential businesses and are college administrators and public school teachers and administrators. The interests of the married parent class are, yes, in conflict to some degree with the interests of, well, all the rest of y’all. I don’t know how to square this circle terribly well, myself. We’ve broken civic life badly to pit our baby-havers against all others this way.
Speaking of baby-havers, married mothers do work full time, but not as often or in the ways that you think. Where they work full-time, it’s increasingly flex hours and getting to bring their babies. Why SAHM if you can get that sweet a deal? Much of the increase in married mother employment has been under conditions that don’t resemble what married fathers put up with. And they STILL are 50%! part-time or SAHM. The top half (100k+ households) are like 65% p/t and SAHM. Married fathers are workhorses. They continue to have 90% type workforce participation while married mothers were already retreating from their 90s peaks. They have never gone back to that in nearly 30 years. Bet you didn’t know that!
The point of this post is that married parents are college educated heavily, all-in on STEM and globalism allowing them flex jobs, high wages and retirement funds/pensions. Marriage isn’t conservative. Our children aren’t being raised traditionally despite high SAHM rates. Most married mothers who SAHM use daycare/preschool. Bet you didn’t know that! MOST. It is frequently part-time, but a lot of moms were chafing that they can’t put their toddlers in 3 day Montessori. I think right wing populism is best and that we should have a more production oriented, regional economy in America. I don’t think we can get there via the right pretending no major demographic shifts have happened regarding marriage itself and the kind of people who marry now.