Part in our continuing series… Screaming at the INTERNET!
One of the main reasons out-of-wedlock births have skyrocketed in recent decades is because it has become so difficult for poor and poorly educated young men to earn enough to support a family.
I don’t see why diminishing economic opportunities mean we can’t “wag our fingers” at dudes that don’t support their kids. I suspect a family has much less ability to support itself when fathers are absent, whether or not the father has bad economic prospects.
Besides economic prospects for high school educated folks haven’t declined since 1960 when out of wedlock births were uncommon. They’ve stagnated ((Wage data from IPUMS, a rocking site, via this rocking tool. CPI data from Measuring Worth)).
Its hard to make the case that a variable that’s not changing is “the main reason” for large changes in another variable.