Here’s a fairly staggering statistic, certainly from a “changing family values” angle, but also from an economic and social one.
This would not be such a big deal except for the fact that many of these twentysomethings are drifting into parenthood, becoming moms and dads with partners they don’t think are fit to marry or at least ready to marry. For instance, almost 1 in 2 babies—47 percent, to be precise—born to twentysomething women are now born to unmarried parents. In fact, twentysomething women now have the majority of children outside of marriage, which—given that 30 is the new 20—makes them the new teen moms.
At first blush it seems to bely the constant expansion of adolescence — the self-perception of the average American 20-something skews very heavily towards childhood — but in fact it’s in clear parallel to this trend. The article identifies two key cultural factors:
TV shows promulgate the “capstone” view of marriage, which seen as unattainable by many. Unable to comprehend achievement of this, they go ahead and have the kid anyway, because they can.
Because of the incredible rise of divorce they’re scared witless of getting into something that’s doubtless going to fail.
It’s probably not surprising that despite this they’re deciding in record numbers to go ahead and procreate anyway. That’s people for you, I guess.
The bottom line is this: Today’s twentysomethings need to approach parenthood with the same seriousness that they approach marriage.
I bet they will hop right on that, as soon as they’ve finished watching another few episodes of New Girl and liking some stuff on Facebook. Un petit d’un petit…
Published on March 28th, 2013