Married parents and the public school exit.

No matter how many ways you slice the onion, it’s becoming more and more the case that married parents are exiting or very strategically accessing the public school system.  This poses real medium and long term issues regarding funding and support for public school teachers.

What does exit mean?  It means 30%+ of married parents’ kids are outside the public school system or inside it via de facto segregation tactics like specialized, high-parent-participation “options” or outright effective magnets/charters within a larger public school.  About 15% are in private schools, with a steady increase in private Protestant schools specifically (although the general private school split is 45% Catholic, 40% Protestant, and secular bringing up the rump end at around 15%.  The classical Christian academy is maturing away from co-op models to full-time private schools all over the country.  Another approximately 7% are homeschooling full time, typically longer than a year but less than full K-12.  Another 8-10% are doing various combinations of specialized public school programs, homeschooling using the public school curriculum (public-private partnership, “alternative educational approach”, the various names for this make it hard to break out on its own), and mixed schooling (combining several part-time school options).

Homeschooling is completely normalized now as an option to include in the college prep race among the very parents who dominate married parenthood, the college educated majority.  It’s not part of a “fundie fringe”, it’s something a double digit percentage of married parents do for at least one year between K-12.

Also, kids just never stop costing money now, because all these options have costs in time and money.  Either you’re writing checks, one parent is not working full time or outside the home, or both.  The other side of it is that public schools push fringier and fringier views on the remaining children whose parents can’t optimize them into a special program where that stuff doesn’t come up or is cheerfully waivered out.  Where I live, essentially in our version of the higher-end NYC public magnet schools, an example fringy goal is to teach transgender advocacy to kindergarteners in the “regular” public schools.    It’s already approved, implementation is coming in another school year or so.

So even the very liberal parents who might be fine with this in junior high are making plans to do for-pay K or even K-3, on top of 7k/mo mortgages and 1k/mo property taxes to pay 100k salaries to teachers and 150k salaries to administrators who added this stuff to the curriculum.  Exit isn’t cheap, and it’s not getting cheaper, but it is increasing over time anyway.  This is not a stable equilibrium.

 

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Fast facts about married parent income compared to all households (2017 numbers).

Things have changed a bit for 2017, mostly because a bunch of kids aged out and there’s way fewer married households with under-18 kids around.

Less than 9% of all households making under 50k/yr are married with under-18 kids.

About 20% of all households making 50-99k/yr are married with under-18 kids.

About 30% of all households making 100-149k/yr are married with under-18 kids.

About 35% of all households making 150k/yr or more are married with under-18 kids.

Lost percentage at the very bottom and the tippy top.

Source: 2017 ACS data on household income in the past 12 months.

What average salary should men and women be making to get married?

Apparently the answer is “20k more than the woman you plan to wife up”.

The gap between married women and married men’s average earnings is about 20k regardless of actual earnings until men are in their 30s, when married men’s average goes up into 40k more than the married women average through their 30s.

So guys who are married in their early 20s average 30k, but girls married in their early 20s average 10k.  Mid20s, 50k/30k, respectively.  Mid30s, 70k/50k.

Another way to look at it is that single men never boost their earnings out of the range they share with married women (for both single men and married women, average income peaks around 50k/yr through 30s and 40s).  Men who want to marry all start out higher earning, even among men who marry by 20.

So the single guys who remain at each stage of average income are the ones who just aren’t making the financial leaps upward.  Single women have it even worse, they don’t hit that 50k peak until their 50s, and are down in the 40k range through most of their working years, below married women and single men.

One interesting set of interpretations is that married women on average expect married men to be the ones to take income over benefits and generous leave while they expect to not have to choose and thus don’t.  And men who want to marry won’t if they aren’t pretty confident they can decisively earn 60% or more of the household income.

Data reference is from here, covering people who were born in the 1990s as the youngest end of the spectrum.

Fast facts about married with kids income compared to all households.

Less than 10% of all households making under 50k/yr are married with under-18 kids.

About 20% of all households making 50-99k/yr are married with under-18 kids.

About 33% of all households making 100-149k/yr are married with under-18 kids.

About 40% of all households making 150k/yr or more are married with under-18 kids.

Interesting pattern, that.

Source: 2016 ACS data on household income in the past 12 months.

The new class structure in American society

Upper class: Married, college completing, has domestic support at least part time or extensive use of internet-based equivalents. Household income range is 200-450k. 95% white and Asian, 5% black and Hispanic.  6 million households.

Upper middle class: Married, college educated (mostly completing, but a substantial minority of “some college” households).  Household income range is 100k-200k.  90% white and Asian, 10% black and Hispanic.  Lifetime number of children is 1-4. 16 million households.

Middle class: Singles with their act together, single parents who make more than 50k/yr.  Retired married couples.   25 million households.

Lower middle class: Hispanics (particularly 1st and 2nd generation immigrant), non-college white and black married couples. 34 million.

Lower class: Singles who can’t get it together, single parents who don’t work. 40 million.

This is a draft.  The numbers are pretty close to the total households in America though.  Peel away, it’s a pretty big onion.

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%.