Back in September W. Bradford Wilcox and Wendy Wang published an American Enterprise Institute report titled The Marriage Divide: How and Why Working-Class Families Are More Fragile Today. I’ve written previously about the NYT response to the report, but not about the data in the report itself. For the most part the report features refreshed data to make the case that Wilcox has been making since at least 2010; marriage has become highly stratified by class. Figure 1 of the report shows the share of adults age 18-55 who are currently married, by class:
Figure 4 shows the percentage of children born out of wedlock by class:
One of the main points of the paper is that the stratification of marriage by class is being partially masked by immigration. As the Executive Summary explains:
The class divide would be even larger were it not for the presence of immigrants, who are disproportionately married and members of working-class or poor families.
In the Appendix they re run several of the breakdowns to show the stratification with immigrants excluded. Figure A5 shows what figure A1 (above) would look like excluding immigrants, and this allows a side by side comparison:
Figure A7 allows the same side by side comparison for out of wedlock birth rates:
What these charts can’t tell us, however, is what this will look like for the next generation. I haven’t seen data for other immigrant groups, but we know that for Hispanics* at least subsequent generations fare terribly under our for elites only marriage model.
Normally when you see divorce rates broken out by race, Hispanics have a slightly higher divorce rate than Whites, and a much lower divorce rate than Blacks:
But lumping all Hispanics together masks the fact that foreign born Hispanics have a much lower divorce rate than native born Hispanics:
Native born Hispanics also have much higher out of wedlock birth rates than foreign born Hispanics.
Hispanic women who gave birth were more likely to be unmarried (42%) than were non-Hispanic women (34%) who gave birth. The share of out-of-wedlock births to Hispanic women immigrants (35%) was nearly equal to that of non-Hispanic women and was much lower than the share for native-born Hispanic women (50%).
Not all of our foreign born population is Hispanic, but I can see no reason to expect that the same family model that is a disaster for poor and working class Whites, Blacks, and Hispanics will not be similarly destructive to the next generation of poor and working class immigrants across the board.
*According to this source, 45% of current immigrants are Hispanic.