On the demographics of American aspirations and declining work

by Ryan Streeter on December 16, 2014. Follow Ryan on Twitter.

For most unemployed men, life without work is not easy…They are unhappy to be out of work and eager to find new jobs. They are struggling both with the loss of income and a loss of dignity. Their mental and physical health is suffering. Yet 44 percent of men in the survey said there were jobs in their area they could get but were not willing to take…

Men today may feel less pressure to find jobs because they are less likely than previous generations to be providing for others. Only 28 percent of men without jobs — compared with 58 percent of women — said a child under 18 lived with them…

There is also evidence that working has become more expensive. A recent analysis by the Brookings Institution found that prices since 1990 had climbed most quickly for labor-intensive services like child care, health care and education, increasing what might be described as the cost of working: getting a degree, staying healthy, hiring someone to watch the children.

These are three out of many interesting observations in this NYT Upshot piece on the phenomenon of declining work among men.

It’s part of an equally interesting series on demographics and work that The Upshot is doing. Other good reads are herehere, here, and here.

And here’s a thoughtful Ross Douthat column that springboards off this series.