Inequality explained

by Ryan Streeter on April 2, 2013. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

I’m kind of late to the discussion about the report, Knot Yet (pdf), which analyzes the vexing problem in America created by marriage increasingly becoming an institution of the educated. Because marriage is more and more something that people with college degrees do, it also means that it’s something people do when they’re older.

But….people keep having babies, regardless of whether they are educated, in their 20s, or in their 30s.

The result is that children growing up in married homes are growing up with two parents who are more highly educated than average, and also earning more than average. Conversely, children who are growing up with single parents are in raised in homes with lower educational expectations – and lower incomes of course.

This chart sums things up:

Screen Shot 2013-04-01 at 9.56.11 PM


The gap between the red line and the blue and green lines is another way to understand inequality in America today. And it’s probably the most consequential.