A Friday Chat About the Sequence of Success
Nicole Dieker

I can’t speak for an entire generation, but listening to my parents’ stories, alone and together, along with a few relatives of the same generation, in working class Chicagoland from the mid-1950s through the mid-1960s, one thing that was prevalent was the man typically settling down and finding a job once it became clear, through pregnancy, that he was going to be a father. My dad was the “weird” one in that my parents waited three years before they decided they could afford to have kids, my dad was the only child offered tuition-free college by his parents (which he refused because he wanted to get married immediately after high school — he went back to college at around 25 with a wife and two kids to support), and he was one of the few people that went back to the industrial Midwest happily after things didn’t work out for he and my mother in the sunshine states.

If we had an abundance of well paid, stable blue collar jobs now as then, I think we would have seen a lot more married couples (after an unplanned pregnancy happened). But we don’t, so people adjust or deny — or some of both.

If you want a more accurate assessment of what it means to be poor today, Kathryn Edin is the place to start.

And if you want a more accurate assessment of marriage and how it’s present state contributes and/or reflects upon American inequality, read “Marriage Markets” by June Carbone and Naomi Cahn (which I consider BY FAR the most unappreciated book on what’s going on / what’s coming down the pike in the five to ten years).

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