June 11, 2015

"The North-South Divide on Two-Parent Families....It’s not just a red-blue political divide..."

David Leonhardt reports in the NYT (with a map that vividly depicts the split).
The new geographic analysis comes from W. Bradford Wilcox, a University of Virginia sociologist, and Nicholas Zill, a psychologist.... Mr. Wilcox and Mr. Zill argue that there are actually two models for having a large share of stable families...

In the blue-state model, Americans get more education and earn higher income — and more educated, higher-earning people tend to marry and stay married.
This, they say, explains Minnesota, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut.
In the red-state model, educational attainment is closer to average, but “residents are more likely to have deep normative and religious commitments to marriage and to raising children within marriage,” write Mr. Wilcox and Mr. Zill.
This explains "much of the Great Plains and Mountain West, including Nebraska and Utah."

43 comments:

Bobber Fleck said...

Mr. Wilcox and Mr. Zill also point out that two-parent families tend to be more common in states with predominantly white populations. But race is hardly the only explanation for the patterns.

Well, we were able to dismiss that inconvenient fact easily enough.

Paco Wové said...

"Americans get more education and earn higher income — and more educated, higher-earning people tend to marry and stay married. This, they say, explains Minnesota, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Connecticut"

Interesting that 3 of these states are on the "Worst States for Black Americans" list.

Akiva said...

Has the NYT really gone full retard - absolute propaganda mode? Their graphic shows a whopping sum total difference of 40% (low end) and 48% (high end). Meaning under the BEST case, 52% of children are growing up in single parent households (and 60% in the worst case). That's something to talk about, worry about and try to fix!

An 8% divide between Dem heavy and Rep heavy states, who cares?

Now take that same map and apply it by county to get city versus suburban divide and you'd probably see some serious differential.

Phil 3:14 said...

4 of those 10 "blue" states aren't. And we look at the major cities of those blue states such as NYC and LA.

"Coming Apart" says it better, and eliminates the political angle.

Phil 3:14 said...

That's "Can we look..."

Brando said...

This suggests then that the key to stability for lower-income Americans in Blue State areas (including inner cities) is to adopt the red-state model (which, in cases where they have, has often worked).

Henry said...

This data maps to David Hackett Fischer's analysis of British Folkways in America described in Albion's Seed. New England is different than tidewater is different than Appalachia is different than Delaware and Pennsylvania. Utah seems like an outlier, except that it was primarily settled in the 19th century by transplanted New Englanders.

traditionalguy said...

It appears that the NYT readers are still in full blown "We Yankees are better people than those people we defeated after reelecting Lincoln in November 1864" mode.

That's all they got after 150 years.



Aussie Pundit said...

The picture is vivid until you look at the scale, which ranges between 40 percent to a whole 48 percent.
It's lots of fun for academics to talk about red-state versus blue-state social trends but their analysis is built on a pretty small effect size.

The Drill SGT said...

In the blue-state model, Americans get more education and earn higher income — and more educated, higher-earning people tend to marry and stay married.

IOW: White people in Blue States.

One quip that appeals to me goes something like:

The Problem with Liberal Elites on marriage and family is that they refuse to preach what they practice. Look to the folks that control our media and culture. Married. Liberals...

Bay Area Guy said...

A critically important topic, that the NYT manages to mangle.



Michael K said...

Yup. Do as we say, not as we do.

SGT Ted said...

"Normative". I dislike that word. It's the word of bigots.

Sebastian said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fen said...

Compare red states to blue "city-states" and get back to me.

Of course, if you know anything about the decline of black families in the cities, you already know this study is bogus.

Fen said...

"...something has gone fundamentally wrong with one of our greatest human creations.

"The case against science is straightforward: much of the scientific literature, perhaps half, may simply be untrue. Afflicted by studies with small sample sizes, tiny effects, invalid exploratory analyses, and flagrant conflicts of interest, together with an obsession for pursuing fashionable trends of dubious importance, science has taken a turn towards darkness. As one participant put it, “poor methods get results”.

- editor-in-chief Dr. Richard Horton, The Lancet

http://acsh.org/2015/05/science-publication-is-hopelessly-compromised-say-journal-editors/

JHapp said...

So as long as everyone is rich the system works.

Eric the Fruit Bat said...

I'd like to know whether there's a North-South Divide on households with a man cave.

Sebastian said...


Add a few controls to an actual model, and the supposed effect is likely to disappear.

"Talking about the advantages of two-parent families can be awkward, I realize, because it can seem to dismiss the heroic work that so many single parents do. Managing parenthood, work and the rest of life without a partner is deeply impressive. Nevertheless, the sharp rise in single-parent families has contributed to sky-high inequality and deserves discussion."

If "sky-high" inequality is the #1 Prog horror and single parents heroically contribute to it, isn't it more awkward to ignore the obvious problem?

I had missed the Prog axiom that any form of single parenthood is now ipso facto "deeply impressive." Good to know we nonetheless have permission to discuss

MayBee said...

dismiss the heroic work that so many single parents do.

I hate this "single parent as hero" crap that's infected modern culture. Why is it heroic to be a single parent, and not a parent also in a successful marriage- having to work things out with another adult *and* the children?

LYNNDH said...

I guess that my Wife and I should be Dems, living in a now purple from red state CO. We both have advanced degrees. But then we are white and old.

Anonymous said...

Two parent families is complete BS.

It's not two people that help raise children that's good for children. It's having both a mother and a father. Having both a male and a female raise them. Each gender has their own strengths and weaknesses.

Ten years ago I wouldn't object to the line, "Two parent families" because we knew they meant mom and dad. Now we've redefined what the words "Two parents" means. And people will point to these studies and say, "Look! See! Gay sex couples can do it too!"

Complete hogwash.

Anglelyne said...

The comments (apart from a few hardy souls pointing out the obvious) are hilarious. Earnest progressives bashing ever onward with their Ptolemaic sociological models (religious hypocrisy! conservatism! ignorant southerners!) oblivious to the correlations staring them in the face.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

I blame Dan Quayle.

Michael said...

If you remove the African American cohort the numbers would tilt a lot differently in the south

Horseball said...

"Distance from the Canadian border" was Daniel Moynihan's drollery when he meant white.

mtrobertsattorney said...

Blue State folks more "educated"?


Given what passes today for a college education, the word "educated" should be used with caution. Whatever "education" received by the intelligentsia of the blue states, if it does anything, it conditions them to greet any left wing fad that happens to pass their way with collective chants of "Hosanna". Witness the unbounded excitement of the Madison School District over the latest theory on how to create a real learning environment in public schools, i.e., the doctrine of "White Privilege".

Anonymous said...

It's also a past-present divide: time was when the entire country was poorer and less educated than now, and relied on the red-state model to promote two-parent families. The comparison is not a flattering one for fans of the blue-state model.

Jake said...

Utah gets a bump for all that polygamy.

Fernandinande said...

Bobber Fleck said...
Well, we were able to dismiss that inconvenient fact easily enough.



"The census also found that Asian mothers were the least likely to be unmarried, with just 11 percent of new Asian mothers being single. White single mothers also were below the national average, at 29 percent. Among Hispanics, 43 percent of all new mothers were unmarried, as were 68 percent of all African American women who had recently given birth."

Michael K said...

" a North-South Divide on households with a man cave."

One difficulty is the presence of a man vs a metrosexual. I understand there are no metrosexual caves.

Birches said...

Bradford Wilcox toes the line on his research. I'm surprised the NYT still reports on his studies--he'll end up being Blacklisted sooner or later.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if the prison rate coincides with the single parent rate.

If you looked at the percent of minorities raised with only one parent vs that same group in prison, I wonder if there is a coorelation.

The Godfather said...

Paul Zrimsek makes a good point that there's "also a past-present divide." You had fewer "single mothers" in the old days (e.g. the '50's when I grew up), but it wasn't because everyone was more "moral". It was because if an unmarried girl was pregnant there was a whole lot of social pressure on the man responsible to step up and marry her (and for her to marry him). I think someone did a study going back to the beginning of the 20th century that showed a remarkable number of 8-lb "premature" babies born 7 months after the wedding.

Enlightened people decried the "had to get married" culture -- so unromantic, what kind of a basis is that for a long-term relationship, etc. Anyone want to argue that the modern alternative is better?

It would be a better (or less bad) world if we brought back the shotgun wedding, but it was the father of the pregnant girl who was supposed to wield the shotgun, and those guys by and large can't be found, or can't be bothered.

The Godfather said...

The article claims that the "blue state model" reduces single-parenthood because it fosters education and "more educated, higher-earning people tend to marry and stay married." There's a real causation-correlation problem here. Education and income don't make people more responsible. More responsible people are able to achieve and benefit from education, and obtain better-paying jobs. More responsible people don't leave a trail of bastards behind them (if they're male) or have unprotected sex with an endless procession of men to whom they aren't married (if they're female).

Harold said...

"I think someone did a study going back to the beginning of the 20th century that showed a remarkable number of 8-lb "premature" babies born 7 months after the wedding."

I've researched mine and my wife's family tree more then 10 generations back in some branches, no less then 5 in any branch. There are a remarkable number of "premature" first births. But there is another reason why, not widely discussed. A frontier society wants couples that can reproduce. And divorce back then was frowned upon. If the wife to be is pregnant when the couple gets married, you know that neither half of the couple is infertile. Assuming they were true to each other... which most of the time wouldn't be a bad assumption.

Seeing Red said...

Blue city-states are more expensive to live in. They have to earn more money.

David said...

There is research showing that large percentages of first births were "premature" in Puritan New England. Sex seeking was not invented in the second half of the 20th century.

Bruce Hayden said...

Sorry, but the issue is not really single parent, but rather fatherless families. And there is nothing heroic about getting pregnant for the first time before becoming a legal adult in order to get their own welfare check. All they need to do is spread their legs, and nature will take its course, and in many cases, their social workers will get them signed up for welfare. Instead of heroic, I would call it more tragic. The welfare that so greatly enables and exasperates this counterproductive behavior was enacted for the best of moral reasons. Few progressives stayed up late at night anguishing about how many fatherless sons they were relegating to prison, or fatherless daughters perpetuating the next generation of fatherless kids by enacting their progressive welfare policies. They were legislatng from the heart, which is why it is so tragic.

In response to a question above - yes, a surprisingly high percentage of the prison population was raised in fatherless families. And, yes, ditto for engaging in this sort of behavior (fatherless child rearing). The big question is lesbian childrearing, and right now it isn't absolutely clear the results - there have apparently studies going both ways, but the politics are so dire that anything impugning the ability of lesbians to raise children successfully is attacked unmercifully.

Bruce Hayden said...

So why is fatherless parenting, and, in particular, single fatherless parenting so bad, in terms of outcomes?

I think when it comes to boys, that it is two fold. Young males have to be domesticated and civilized in order to be productive in society. What a father should provide here are limits. Many/most women seem incapable of setting meaningful limits on their male offspring. We all go through it - for me, I was maybe 14 or 15 when I discovered that my mother couldn't tell me "no". I was bigger than she, and feminine logic and arguments were irrelevant to me. And, we all hear, and experience single mothers who try to be their kids' best friend. Luckily, I had a father in the house, and he would periodically provide the limits I needed. But for those who don't, society, in the form of the criminal justice system, provides the limits, but those limits are provided with much less love than a father would have provided.

The second part of this necessary domestication involves marriage and parenting. Probably not surprisingly, fathers tend to work harder, over the years than non-fathers, and married men than unmarried. This is the secret of why marriage and children are the key to a middle class life. It isn't the house, the mortgage, the college education, the fancy car, etc, all of which the left have tried to give away to the poor to move them into the middle class. It is that married fathers spend their efforts on their families, instead of themselves (which typically requires much less effort). And, yes, wives do plenty to civilize and domesticate us.

averagejoe said...

Anyone else see the new pop-up ad on ESPN.com showing the lesbian couple adopting the deaf girl? "We're your new mommies..." The new normal, minus the transsexual. No idea what the product was...

The Godfather said...

@average joe: The ad is for Wells Fargo Bank. Franklin Graham withdrew his ministry's accounts from WF in protest.

averagejoe said...

Thanks, Godfather.