Behind the New Inequality

“The ideal of an ‘American way of life’ is fading as the working class falls further away from institutions like marriage and religion and the upper class becomes more isolated,” writes Charles Murray in The Wall Street Journal.

He defines the “white upper middle class” as people age 30-49 with at least a college education working in managerial jobs or high-status professions, and the “white working class” as people age 30-49 with no more than a high-school education in blue-collar, low-skill or service jobs. Here are some data points:

  • From 1960 to 2010, the total number married fell 11 percentage points among the upper middle class (from 94% to 83%), but fell 36 percentage points for the working class (from 84% to 48%).
  • Males without jobs rose 3 percentage points among the upper middle class (from 9% to 12%), but doubled (from 10% to 20%) for the working class.
  • Secularism rose 11 percentage points (from 29% to 40%) for the upper middle class, but rose 21 percentage points (from 38% to 59%) for the working class.

Comments (9)

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  1. Floccina says:

    Interestingly in about 100 years if current differences in birth rates persist most Americans will be Anabaptists (Amish and Mennonites etc.) or Hasidic Jews:

    They will drop out of school early (at least the Anabaptists)
    They will have low divorce rates
    The males will work
    They will attend religious services

    Problem solved.

  2. Paul H. says:

    I think Murray’s new book is going to be a block buster.

  3. John R. Graham says:

    In 1960, Social Security was only one generation old. Medicare did not exist. Medicaid did not exist and federal funding for the health-care safety net was trivial. There was no U.S. Department of Education. There was no U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    I could go on but I think the conclusion is hiding in plain sight: The programs designed to transfer income and increase equality have had the opposite effect. By increasing dependency they have caused more segregation.

  4. Brian says:

    This is not good news.

  5. Devon Herrick says:

    Liberal pundits, progressives and advocates for an activist social policy all lament rising inequity and the decline of the middle class. Taxpayer subsidies attempt to remove some of the inequity (e.g. removing the poor from the tax rolls, Social Security, Medicare, food stamps, housing assistance, universal education, college PEL grants and loans, child tax credits and the forthcoming health insurance exchange subsidies are all examples). These costly programs can remove some of the advantage wealthier households have in specific areas. But nothing is better at alleviating poverty than two good jobs.
    Part of the explanation for increasing inequity is the relative change in job skills required to maintain what might be considered a middle class lifestyle. About 50 years ago, trade protectionism (and a strong back) was sufficient to ensure uneducated men could earn a decent living. A high school education was considered sufficient for most households. A decent living consisted of owning a crackerbox house (with two or three small bedrooms) and one car in the driveway. Nowadays, the one-car household with the crackerbox house and a high school education is considered a poor household. Yet, the scenario I described doesn’t really fit the mold of the poor getting poorer as some assert (actually, the poor are getting richer). Rather, it reflects more opportunities for advancement among those willing to seek the education. Those without specialized skills can still earn a living, they just don’t feel as well off when others have surpassed them by such a wide margin. Research has found how well off you feel compared to your neighbors has a lot to do with how well off you feel.

  6. Mark Glasgow says:

    The transition to a service-based economy requires greater human capital, supplied through greater access to higher education. If only bureaucrats would reassess government-guaranteed students loans and their impact on college tuition rates, they would see that their policies are the culprits for the skyrocketing cost of universities. This price tag prohibits broad participation in continued schooling and perpetuates the above-mentioned trends.

  7. Elom says:

    Watch on dacreese wages if here is no change in the contemporary logic. I work as an interpreter with address therapists; their salaries have not risen in three years to compensate for augmented premiums of the part of their health indemnity that their employer pays and for the augmented part that they must pay of their premiums.As people spend more on health care, here is less cash to spend on consumption. Costs in the US nation is 70% consumption. For here to be income to hold commodities and air force not correlated to health care, the cost of health care must come down. The cost per capita of health care in the US is in this area twice what it is in countries that take in all their citizens and that crash best outcomes that does our profit-driven logic.In fleeting, controlling or, best, lowering the cost of health care in the US to levels quicker to those of countries with best overall outcomes than our logic produces will liable result in an increase in your take-home wage, all else life copy.I say all else life copy, in view of the fact that demand is the foremost driver of wages: the superior the need for address pathologists, the likelier it is that you will earn more. From my experience, the fact that we hire address pathologists where I work and that in this promote we are looking for more competent address therapists, as we call them, bodes well for your choice of career. 0Was this answer helpful?

  8. Consueti says:

    Haha you’re joking aptly? The llebrais rather to not only give back to the system’ but also force everyone else to as well. The libertarians rather to allow public to top out whether or not they give back to the system they can top out what they do with their money rather than forcing everyone else. Life a liberal isn’t noble, it’s sick and repressive.How are you a follower of Ayn Rand? Are you a Capitalist? What just so do you find appealing in this area her way of life? I am scarce.

  9. Bruna says:

    Grow up lol, coming from the guy who iktnhs that God has nothing to do with Charities or the accomplishment that those air force have had in aid.