Topic 3b Promises I Can Keep - Sociology 169 Topic 3...

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1 Sociology 169 Topic 3: Marriage: Meanings Importance, and Implications Readings: Edin and Kefalas. 2005. Promises I Can Keep. Topic 3b: Promises I Can Keep Are the unmarried poor who become parents really disadvantaged? Why are children important for the poor? Is the meaning of marriage different for the poor? Is the institution of marriage really that different among the poor? An example: qualitative and quantitative methods can work nicely together What type of policy is most likely to work to bolster marriage among the poor. Disadvantages among the Unmarried Poor at the Time They Become Parents WOMEN In 1950 1 in 20 births to unmarried mothers. In 2005 this figure is 1 in 3 Having a child while single 3 times more likely among the poor than the affluent Half of these unwed mothers have no high school diploma at the time they give birth 1/3 did not work at all in the past year First time unwed mothers are young– 21 on average Disadvantages among the Unmarried Poor at the Time They Become Parents MEN 4 in 10 unmarried fathers have been to jail or prison before their child’s birth Almost ½ lack a high school diploma ¼ have no job The median earnings for these unmarried fathers is 10,000 the year before the birth of their child
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2 Disadvantages among the Unmarried Poor at the Time They Become Parents 2/3 of births in Philadelphia are to unmarried women This average takes into account the wealthier parts of the city so in Edin and Kefalas’ neighborhoods the rate is actually higher.) If the Poor Are So Disadvantaged Why Do They Have Children? Women Why not? It’s not like they are really lowering their chances for a successful career later on. Being a parent is something poor women feel they can accomplish because the other avenues to status in the middle class are generally closed to them Primacy of the mothering role
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