Mr Charles and Mr Luoh controlled for crime rates, as a proxy for social dysfunction, and found that it made no difference to their results.They concluded that “higher male imprisonment has lowered the likelihood that women marry…and caused a shift in the gains from marriage away from women and towards men.” Learning and earning Similar problems afflict working-class whites, but they are more concentrated among blacks. The collapse of the traditional family has made black Americans far poorer and lonelier than they would otherwise have been. In 2007 only 11% of US-born black women aged 30-44 without a high school diploma had a working spouse, according to the Pew Research Centre.
But jail is a big part of the problem, argue Kerwin Kofi Charles, now at the University of Chicago, and Ming Ching Luoh of National Taiwan University.
They divided America up into geographical and racial “marriage markets”, to take account of the fact that most people marry someone of the same race who lives relatively close to them.
Between the ages of 20 and 29, one black man in nine is behind bars.
For black women of the same age, the figure is about one in 150.
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It also coincided with greater opportunities for women in the workplace.
These factors must surely have had something to do with the decline of marriage.
Black women tend to stay in school longer than black men.
Looking only at the non-incarcerated population, black women are 40% more likely to go to college.
Why this happened is complex and furiously debated.