Monday, January 10, 2011

Marriage is the Upward Mobility Path You Most Control

Doyle McManus has a fine op-ed in the Los Angeles Times summarizing the three main elements of upward mobility for the poor, as summarized by Ron Haskins of the Brookings Institution:

"If young people do three things — graduate from high school, get a job, and get married and wait until they're 21 before having a baby — they have an almost 75% chance of making it into the middle class."
McManus reasonably focuses on the big things government, business, and other social institutions can do to improve the chances of upward mobility for poor people. Creating jobs and improving the quality of schools is beyond what most people can affect individually.

The main tool that people have to lift themselves is in the hands of all Americans, no matter how poor they start out: stay married and have your kids in marriage.


Joan Calvin said...

Well, the problem is, is marriage causal or connectional? That is does marriage cause upward mobilibity or are people who would otherwise be upwardly mobile just more likely to marry because of their traits. That is are the traits that make one upwardly mobile also those that make one more attractive as a mate and more likely to have the skills to navigate a relationship and stay married.

Anonymous said...

I would add to the list, spend less than you make. It really helps.