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90% Out-of-Wedlock Birth Rate: Where are the fathers?

3 min

Across the country innumerable men will quietly admit to each other that they feel they are the unwanted ones of society, particularly if they're white. But to say it in public? That's not going to happen.

And so, the task falls to a few brave women like Christina Hoff Sommers, author of The War Against Boys (2000). In an interview with Intellectual Takeout's Jon Miltimore, she had the following to say on the topic:

"Men aren't going to organize around their oppression. Not many of them. It's probably going to be left to mothers to help boys in school. Mothers will organize to help their kids. We saw, for example, these horrible injustices to young men taken through these kangaroo courts in these college rape tribunals. There was a group of mothers with falsely accused sons who proved to be a very effective force in bringing about reform. The group is called FACE.

If you look at the way society organizes, there is a lot more concern for the health, education, and well-being of women. But when people hear men complain, many think it sounds like whining or it sounds unmanly. I worry the activists take advantage of that. We've seen outrageous injustice against young men on campuses, and these activists seem to do it without hesitation. They don't appear to feel the least bit sorry that someone has been falsely accused. That's very hard for me to understand."

You do wonder why it would be the moms coming to the rescue of the young men. Where are the fathers? While attacks against inequality and men go back quite some time, is there really a war against men? Or did men simply quit, leaving the heavy lifting to the women? 

Furthermore, does a “war against men” or “men quitting” better explain the astronomical out-of-wedlock birthrates in the Twin Cities and many other major cities in the U.S.? Several races have or exceed a 90% out-of-wedlock birthrate.

Out of wedlock birthrates MN St. Paul Minneapolis
Such high out-of-wedlock birthrates have been the norm for several decades now, but it wasn't always the case. In what is known as "The Moynihan Report" (1965), Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D) rang the alarm when the out-of-wedlock birthrate of African-Americans neared 25%. (At the time he used the term "Negro" to refer to African-Americans.): 

"The white rate was 2 percent in 1940; it was 3.07 percent in 1963. In that period, the Negro rate went from 16.8 percent to 23.6 percent."

Certainly there are a number of factors to consider behind the enormous changes, such as the rise of feminism and the impact it has had on cultural norms, the workforce, domestic life, etc., as well as evolutions of the economy and the legal system. Nonetheless, at the end of the day two people, the mother and the father, made decisions about whether or not they would stay together, get married, or take separate paths. Marriage, until only very recently, was considered the best way for a couple to provide for a child's welfare.

Something has changed in our society that has spread like wildfire. When you look at the numbers above, are some men right to say that a war was successfully waged against them? Have they been driven away from the responsibilities they would have normally assumed? Have they been incentivized to leave? Can they not afford to stay around? Or ... did they quit, handing the heavy lift over to the women?

Devin Foley

Devin Foley

Devin is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Charlemagne Institute, which operates Intellectual Takeout, Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, and the Alcuin Internship. He is a graduate of Hillsdale College where he studied history and political science. Prior to co-founding Charlemagne Institute, he served as the Director of Development at the Center of the American Experiment, a state-based think tank in Minnesota.

Devin is a contributor to local and national newspapers, a frequent guest on a variety of talk shows, such as Minneapolis' KTLK and NPR's Talk of the Nation, and regularly shares culture and education insights presenting to civic groups, schools, and other organizations. In 2011, he was named a Young Leader by the American Swiss Foundation.

Devin and his wife have been married for eighteen years and have six children. When he's not working, Devin enjoys time with family while also relaxing through reading, horticulture, home projects, and skiing and snowboarding.

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