The NYT Spots the Latest Trend: Dying Alone


Last week, the Los Angeles Times memorably
recounted the

story
of the

impoverished
illegal alien woman with three children
who started taking fertility pills and quickly added

triplets followed by quadruplets.

This week, the New York Times runs a demographic
article entitled

"Facing Middle Age With No Degree, and No Wife"

by Eduardo Porter and Michelle O`Donnell [August 6,
2006] that unwittingly explores the flip side of the
subject of

fecund illegal immigrants
: American men who can`t
afford to marry because they face increasingly
unfavorable supply and demand curves for

work
and

homes
:


"About 18 percent of
men ages 40 to 44 with less than four years of college
have never married, according to census estimates. That
is up from about 6 percent a quarter-century ago."

There are a number of causes, such as

loosened sexual mores
, but the economic factor—what
I call

Affordable Family Formation
—is important. As the
NYT
article notes:


"For men

without higher education
, though, dwindling
prospects in the labor market have made a growing
percentage either

unwilling to marry
or

unable to find someone to marry them
."

The Times explains further:


"Between 1979 and
2003, the earnings of men with a few years of college
but no degree barely kept up with inflation … For

high school graduates with no college
experience,
men`s earnings declined 8 percent over the period…

The article cites the distinguished Harvard social
scientist

Christopher Jencks
, who is a sort of

James Q. Wilson
of the left-of-center:


"It is a mistake to
think of this as just happening to the underclass at the
bottom … It is also happening to people with high school
diplomas or even some college. That is the group that
has been most affected by the decline in real wages in
the last 30 years."

Now, why have wages for less-skilled men stagnated or
fallen? There are a number of plausible reasons,
including the large expansion of the supply of labor due
to more women entering the workforce in the

1970s and 1980s
. Yet, the rate of female labor force
participation

peaked in 2000
and in 2006 is no higher than in
1994, so that explanation is growing obsolete.

One obvious reason is the enormous and continuing influx
of less-skilled workers. Sam Quinones`s terrific

article
in the LA Times cited a Mexican
immigrant`s explanation of the advantage of moving from
California to Kentucky, where there are "fewer
Mexican immigrants

bidding down the wages for unskilled jobs."

Unfortunately, as is

typical of the Mainstream Media
, this NY Times`
story`s explication of the declining wage and marital
prospects of less educated Americans doesn`t dare
mention the forbidden "
I
Word.
"
[Vdare.com
note:


Ask the New York Times

why this is so.
]

Which is ironic, because the reporters could simply have
asked their own source Dr. Jencks about the effects of
immigration on wages. In late 2001, Jencks

authored an important series
in the liberal
intellectual flagship, The New York Review of Books,
entitled "Who
Should Get In?"
(Part
1
,

Part 2
). In it, he said:


"Since 1970,
immigration has increased the number of unskilled job
applicants faster than the number of skilled job
applicants.

First-year economics
predicts that increasing the
relative number of unskilled workers will depress their
wages, because employers will not need to raise wages to
attract applicants for unskilled jobs. Nonetheless,
those who favor an expansive immigration policy often
deny that the increase in the number of unskilled job
applicants depresses wages for unskilled work, arguing
that

unskilled immigrants take jobs that natives do not want.


This is sometimes
true. But we still have to ask why natives do not want
these jobs. The reason is not that natives reject
demeaning or dangerous work. Almost every job that
immigrants do in

Los Angeles
or

New York
is

done by natives
in Detroit and Philadelphia. Far
from proving that immigrants have no impact on natives,
the fact that American-born workers sometimes reject
jobs that immigrants accept reinforces the claim that
immigration has depressed wages for unskilled work.”

The NYT article only vaguely touches on another
major financial disincentive to getting married:
expensive homes.

By increasing demand for housing, immigration tends to
drive up housing prices. For example, in

California,
the state with the most foreign-born
residents (27
percent
), the

median home price
this spring was $562,380, which
would require an income of $127,950 to afford.
Unfortunately, California`s median income in 2004 was

$51,185
.

High home prices have profound implications because
contemporary Americans tend to view social
adulthood—most specifically, marriage—as something that
should not much precede financial adulthood—especially,
being able to afford a house.

This attitude is prevalent among both the poor and the
rich. For example, sociologists Kathryn
Edin and Maria Kefalas,
authors of

Promises I Can Keep: Why Poor Women Put Motherhood
Before Marriage
,
wrote an essay in the
Washington Post
(May 1, 2005) entitled

"Unmarried Because They Value Marriage."
In it,
they explained that single mothers in Philadelphia told
them:


"Marriage, we heard
time and again, ought to be reserved for those couples
who`ve acquired the symbols of working-class
respectability—a mortgage on a modest
rowhouse, a reliable car, a
savings account and enough money left over to host a
`decent` wedding."

In states where home prices have gone up the fastest
over the last quarter century, marriage tends to be
least popular. There is a strong -0.70 inverse
correlation by state between housing inflation over the
1980 to 2004 period and the average number of years that
a white woman can

expect to be married between ages 18 through 44
.

In turn, "Years Married" among white women
correlates at the extraordinarily high 0.91 level with
George W. Bush`s 2004 share of a state`s vote. Bush,
running on the Republican "family values"
platform, carried the 26 states with the highest level
of marriage among

younger white women.

So, you might think that, as Republicans,

President Bush
and

Karl Rove
would want to encourage Affordable Family
Formation by discouraging immigration. In California,
the highest immigration state, Republican Presidential
candidates won nine out of ten times from

1952
1988,
but have been skunked by Democrats in the last four
races.

Instead, the White House has obsessively worked to
Californicate the rest of America. In his weekly radio
address yesterday, Mr. Bush, in the words of

US Today
, "challenged Congress to give him

legislation
that will welcome more foreigners into
the country."

Worse, unaffordable family formation threatens more than
just the future of the GOP.

Among those who don`t see themselves as being able to
afford marriage, the more responsible tend to delay
having children, sometimes forever, while the

less responsible
tend to have children out of
wedlock.

This doesn`t bode well for the future of America.


[Steve Sailer [email
him] is founder of the Human Biodiversity Institute and


movie critic
for


The American Conservative
.
His website


www.iSteve.blogspot.com
features his daily
blog.]