College is the new bride price

The money doesn’t go to the parents, though.  But it’s the main path to the married class.  A fundamental error is the view that college is a net financial loss for middle class women.  But this dismisses the reality that the college “bride price” is how those women display their marriageability and secure marriage to a man who can lead them into firm footing in the married class.  The fringe notion that college is for harlotry is nearly the opposite of the reality that’s led to a supermajority of children being born to college-educated mothers and a majority being born to college-completing mothers (BA and beyond).

Women were taking 40% of the BAs in 1970.  Those women’s daughters have come to completely dominate married motherhood, so of course college for girls Just Makes Sense.  When your daughter is going to marry a guy who’s already graduated a couple years earlier and who’s already making 70k while she’s walking into 40k starting, suddenly the 15k or 25k in student loans doesn’t seem like such a big deal.

Advertisements

The Australian difference

I can’t get more deeply into this for a couple months unfortunately, because Australia’s natality data is not as granular as America and some of the other nations I have looked at.  But this is an interesting starting point.

American birth rates by age for 2015 (using 12 month-ending numbers from the CDC/NCHS)

Age Birth Rate
15-19 22.3
20-24 76.8
25-29 104.3
30-34 101.5
35-39 51.8
40-44 11
45+ 0.8

In Australia, things look more like this for 2015

Age Birth Rate
15-19 13.1
20-24 49.2
25-29 96.7
30-34 122.4
35-39 69.7
40-44 14.8
45+ 1

1 in 8 married couples with under-18 kids make 200k/yr or more, a doubling since 2006.

That is as of 2016, courtesy of the American Community Survey’s 1 year estimates.

1 in 10 make 150-199k per year.

Put it together and almost 1 in 4 married couples (about 22%) with under-18 kids makes $150,000 or more household income.

More tellingly, the largest single income group is $100-149,999 per year, with just under 5 million households and about 23% of the total.

Put 22 and 23 together and you get 45% of married couples with under-18 kids make 100k a year or more as a household in 2016.

A bit less than 7.5 million households bring in 50-99k per year (split about 50/50 from 50-74k and 75k-99k), which is almost exactly 33% of married folks with under-18 kids.

This means about 22% or almost 1 in 4 married couples with under-18 kids make 49k per year or less.  Not quite how the demographics of marriage are portrayed in a lot of circles, particularly on the right, where sub 50k is presented as firmly and comfortably middle class.

But in reality the true middle range for all the people married and raising kids right now is 100-150k.  This is true even in the lowest income region, the South,  at 41% above 100k.  For the Midwest and West it’s 45% and for the Northeast it’s 56%, or a clear majority.

What were things like 10 years ago in 2006?

200k- 6% nationally

150-199k- 6% nationally

100-149k- 18% nationally

75k-99k- 18% nationally (16% in 2016)

50-75k was the single largest group broken out nationally in 2006. It was 23% nationally.  It’s shrunk a lot since then and is about 17% for 2016.

So in 2006 the true middle range was more like 75k-100k, and nearly 30% of married couples with under-18 kids had sub 50k household income for the year.

In the last decade the bottom rungs are dropping out of the married with kids ladder.

Under 75k went from a slight majority of 52% of such households in 2006 to a clear minority in 2016 of 39%.

Or the other way around, in 2006 48% of married couples with kids made 75k per year or more.  In 2016, it’s 61%.

 

In which Dalrock and Deep Strength reject the reality of the College Funnel

https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2017/09/26/marriage-a-mark-of-privilege/
https://dalrock.wordpress.com/2017/09/26/let-them-become-elite/
These two posts are actually interesting because they’re close, but their own ideological blinders make them miss that the cognitive sort has led to *most kids being the children of smart people*. As well as *the elites totally care about marriage, because now simply being married is a marker of economic separation*.

Class in America has changed and has different division lines. Married people are the new upper middle class. That wasn’t true before the 1960s, but it has become true since wages stagnated in the 1970s.

A substantial minority of people dealt with the wage stagnation by partnership marriages where mom got more and more higher education and could be a much bigger backup/co-earner than in the past.  This allowed that group to capture, over time, some of the productivity gains in real income and married people began to break away as a distinct class by the 1980s.  Once you adjust for what was available to buy in the 1970s and 1980s, it’s clear that the upper middle class rapidly became the married class within less than a generation.

Technological advances also allowed a cognitively unusual slice of the population to have significantly more economic success and consequently marital and reproductive success.

This is just something the right has to deal with.  Marriage is not by default the province of hardworking poorish people.  This is a common right-wing trope/meme/narrative, but it hasn’t been true for a long time, including when many of the people spreading it were newly married.  And it leads conservatives and generically right wing married people into weird and not-useful places by denying that there’s been a big shift upwards for the “average” married couple, particularly those with children under 18.

As I already posted, there are 21-22 million married couples out of 57 million who have six-figure household incomes.  This is not an “elite”.  At the 75k level that is effectively six-figure in many parts of the country, that’s another 9 million households.  30/57 is more than half of married households making 6500 dollars a month or more.

There’s only 125 million households in America.

Also, while the numbers are sadly still high, unwed childbearing is decreasing steadily.  Married childbearing is on the increase at the higher birth orders, astonishingly.

All the “stuff” that goes into raising kids today is not frivolous once you look at the actual conditions we’ve all let happen for various reasons.  And wrapping oneself up in an illusion that nothing’s really changed in terms of what’s needed to be a functional married family is part of why the list of stuff is so long.

Married couple household income breakdown

This is the universe, as the Census Bureau likes to say, of all married couples, so these numbers include married people with no kids at home or no kids at all. So this represents about 57 million families.

  • ~20%, or over 11 million families, had household incomes of 100-149k in 2015
  • 9%, or about 5 million families, had household incomes of 150k-200k in 2015
  • ~10%, or slightly under 6 million families had household incomes of 200k or more 2015
  • Less than 15%, about 8 million families, had household incomes of 35k or less in 2015
  • ~35%, or about 20 million families had household incomes of 50k-99k in 2015 with around 55%, or 11 million families, being 50-74k earners
  • ~11%, or around 6 million families, had household incomes of 35-49k

As you can see, nearly 40% of married couples, representing between 21 and 22 million families, have household incomes above 100k, over 1/3, or about 20 million families have household incomes of 50-100k, and around 1/4 or just 14 million families make 50k or less.

The Grain of Truth theory of effective activism.

Activism is effective politically and even socially when it starts from one true thing. Even if a giant forest of lies is built up around that, one small grain of truth is what keeps people attached. This is more true of progressive activism than conservative activism, but that is fairly recent.

The reason conservatives lose so much of the time is that they prefer stories that don’t even have the grain of truth and then wonder why people reject them. A good example is the bizarre love affair conservatives have with food stamps needing to be converted into actual raw ingredients. That this was done and didn’t work and that food stamps really are better at both feeding little kids who can’t help who their dysfunctional parents are and at getting said parents to be less dysfunctional is something they appear to be utterly ignorant of. Conservatives prefer a story about how things ought to be over the historical reality.

That’s just one example. There are plenty of others. Wide open topic for discussion.