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Marriage and the underclass

I learned today of Promises I Can Keep, by Edin and Kefalas, who talked to 162 poor single mothers to find out how they got there. Quick summary (from reviews, I haven't read it): they value marriage highly, too highly to risk marriage with most of the available males. They don't approve of abortion or divorce. They value motherhood really highly, highly enough to have kids without a marriage, and supposedly don't have much to lose economically (that is, a kid wouldn't be any less costly in their mid-twenties than in their mid-teens). Which all kind of makes sense, though it's not obvious if the question of how the kids do is addressed in the book.

http://www.msmagazine.com/summer2005/bookreviews.asp

http://www.iwf.org/inkwell/default.asp?archiveID=1275
(Criticism)

http://americanradioworks.publicradio.org/features/welfare/a1.html

"They're conservatives!" Kefalas says of the 162 poor women in the study, who
were black, white and Puerto Rican in roughly equal numbers. "They think that
it's natural and expected to be a mom, that having children is the best thing
you can do with your life. They are very strongly opposed to abortion for the
most part. These are very traditional people in the heart of the communities
that everyone says has abandoned American values, that is unraveling American
values."


http://www.halfchangedworld.com/2005/03/tbr_promises_i_.html

http://www.reason.com/0606/cr.js.marital.shtml
which starts out by reviewing Marriage: a History, which itself sounds interesting -- a survery of different versions of marriage through time and space.

http://www.policyreview.org/134/wax.html

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