The Major Cause of Rising Inequality is Not What You Think It Is

Blog Post - The Major Cause of Rising Inequality is Not What You Think It Is

Income inequality is widely used to castigate capitalism, decry free markets, and justify redistributive policies. Yet there's overwhelming evidence that the main causes of increasing economic inequality in America is not what you might think. According to studies:

• 41% of the economic inequality created between 1976-2000 was the result of the increase in single-parent households. [1]

• The poverty rate would be 25% lower if today's family structure resembled that of 1970. [2]

• Communities with a high percentage of single-parent families are less likely to experience upward mobility. [3]

• Even children in high-income households who experienced family breakups don't fare as well as their two-parent-family peers. [4]

• More than 20% of children in single-parent families live in poverty long-term, compared with 2% of those raised in two-parent families. [5]

In other words, the dramatic increase in single parent families has increased poverty in a large number of households and made inequality worse.

SOURCES:

[1]http://paa2004.princeton.edu/papers/41712

[2]http://www.brookings.edu/~/media/events/2009/10/27%20opportunity%20society/1027_opportunity_society_presentation.pdf

[3]http://obs.rc.fas.harvard.edu/chetty/mobility_geo.pdf

[4]http://family-studies.org/even-for-rich-kids-marriage-matters/

[5]http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/04/11/book-review-mitch-pearlstein.html

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303603904579493612156024266

Comment list

  • Harry Mathis
    17-Aug-2016 05:58 PM

    The rise in single-parent (largely female-headed) households was the direct result of the disastrous LBJ/Democrat created War On Poverty that fostered welfare as a career and penalized marriage, with the federal government as the single-mother's husband replacement.

  • Ron
    19-Aug-2016 10:11 AM

    Sure. Lets ignore the fact that while productivity has continued to rise steadily for decades, wages have been stagnant. So where is all of the profit going? Oh right... to the top 1%. Meanwhile, eroding benefits, lack of unions, inflation, and perpetually rising costs have all combined to further reduce the buying power of the average worker.

    To be sure, two parent families tend to be more stable and successful, and should completely be encouraged. But keep in mind that if we had family structures like we did in 1970, most families would *still* only have a single income... and would have just as much trouble as today.

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