Sunday, August 13, 2006


Marriage and Gender Matters

A few items caught my eye lately on the subject of marriage and gender.

First, a new study published by the British Medical Journal states that people who have never married run the highest risk of early death. The study tracked 67,000 American adults over an eight year span.

After taking into account age, state of health, and several other factors likely to influence the findings, those who had been widowed were almost 40% more likely to die between 1989 and 1997. Those who had been divorced or separated were 27% more likely to have done so. But those who had never been married were 58% more likely to have died during this period than their peers who were married and living with their spouse in 1989.

You can read the study for yourself here.

Second, Maggie Gallagher has a disheartening read about gender - particularly how men are becoming the less-educated sex. I have been posting anecdotal evidence of this for years, and Gallagher provides some empirical evidence for my position in her op-ed:

Men now make up only 42 percent of college students. For every 50 women who earn a bachelor's degree, only 37 men get a college degree. As recently as 1980, only one out of 20 men without college degrees in their early 40s had never married, compared to almost one out of five middle-aged men today.

Gallagher continues:

The decline in marriage comes with a weakened inclination to work. Between 1979 and 2003, the earnings of male high school graduates without any college dropped 8 percent, while women high school grads' earnings grew by 12 percent. The proportion of American men age 30 to 55 who are not working and not looking for work has tripled: 4 million missing men.

Gallagher also comments on the number of Americans drawing disability, which has more than doubled since 1990. I can testify to that from working with the NRA's Office of the General Counsel and through my work in the courts of Tennessee. I would estimate that 1 out of every 6 litigants I currently come across in the courts are drawing some sort of disability and will not work. As I have stated on many an occasion, the disability system is greatly abused, broken, and in need of repair. It is my generation that needs to fix this problem before we slip further into the morass as a socialist welfare state (a path that so many of our European brethren already have trod).

Overall, both items above paint a sobering picture of marriage and gender equality in America today. We cannot afford to hide from these problems anymore. They must be addressed, on both an individual and national level.

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