Generation Unbound: Drifting into Sex and Parenthood without Marriage

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9780815726357: Generation Unbound: Drifting into Sex and Parenthood without Marriage
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Over half of all births to young adults in the United States now occur outside of marriage, and many are unplanned. The result is increased poverty and inequality for children. The left argues for more social support for unmarried parents; the right argues for a return to traditional marriage.

In Generation Unbound, Isabel V. Sawhill offers a third approach: change "drifters" into "planners." In a well-written and accessible survey of the impact of family structure on child well-being, Sawhill contrasts "planners," who are delaying parenthood until after they marry, with "drifters," who are having unplanned children early and outside of marriage. These two distinct patterns are contributing to an emerging class divide and threatening social mobility in the United States.

Sawhill draws on insights from the new field of behavioral economics, showing that it is possible, by changing the default, to move from a culture that accepts a high number of unplanned pregnancies to a culture in which adults only have children when they are ready to be a parent.


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Over half of all births to young adults in the United States today occur outside of marriage, and most are unplanned. This trend is driving a growing class divide. At the top are “planners,” who are marrying and having children only after establishing a career. At the bottom―and increasingly in the middle―are “drifters,” who are having unplanned children early, outside of marriage, and without the stable support of a second parent. This divide is contributing to rising inequality and decreased social mobility for both young parents and
their children.

The political right calls for a return to traditional marriage; the left proposes more social programs to help less advantaged families. In
Generation Unbound, Isabel V. Sawhill offers a provocative third approach: turning “drifters” into “planners” and thereby ensuring that more
children are born into families with the means and motivation to care for them―and saving billions of dollars in social costs.

How do we make this shift? Drawing on behavioral economics, Sawhill offers recommendations for preventing unplanned pregnancy among young adults―for example, by offering greater access to long-acting reversible contraception (such as IUDs) to help
stem the tide of children born to parents who are unprepared for the financial and social responsibilities of raising a child.

About the Author:

Isabel V. Sawhill is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at Brookings, where she holds the Cabot Family Chair. She also serves as codirector of the Center on Children and Families. She is the coauthor (with Ron Haskins) of Creating an Opportunity Society (Brookings, 2009) and board president of the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy.

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Isabel V. Sawhill
Published by BROOKINGS INSTITUTION, United States (2014)
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Book Description BROOKINGS INSTITUTION, United States, 2014. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Half of all pregnancies in the United States are either unplanned or unintended. Moreover, while fewer people are getting married, childbearing outside of wedlock is on the rise. These trends suggest that couples who have unplanned children are ambivalent or unenthusiastic about becoming parents, or, at the very least, are unprepared for parenthood. What kind of future does this mean for their kids . . . and for society as a whole?In Generation Unbound, nationally known budget expert Isabel V. Sawhill presents likely causes for the recent changes in the traditional family structure, such as the increase in women s economic opportunities, declining economic prospects of men, access to birth control and abortion, and new social norms that allow young people more choices - but provide less guidance on what it means to be an adult.Sawhill reveals an emerging class divide in patterns of marriage and childbearing: at the top of the ladder are planners, who are marrying and having children only after establishing a career; at the bottom, and increasingly in the middle, are drifters who are having children early, outside of marriage, and without the stable support of the second parent.Sawhill sees merit in the views of those on the political left, who argue for more social support for the drifters, including expanded child care, parental leave, family-friendly workplaces, and financial assistance, and for those on the right who argue for restoring traditional marriage so that children are raised in a stable family. But, she also points out that while collective responses are needed, they alone can t solve the problem. Any such efforts must be combined with the exercise of greater personal responsibility by potential parents themselves. Seller Inventory # AAN9780815726357

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Book Description BROOKINGS INSTITUTION, United States, 2014. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. Half of all pregnancies in the United States are either unplanned or unintended. Moreover, while fewer people are getting married, childbearing outside of wedlock is on the rise. These trends suggest that couples who have unplanned children are ambivalent or unenthusiastic about becoming parents, or, at the very least, are unprepared for parenthood. What kind of future does this mean for their kids . . . and for society as a whole?In Generation Unbound, nationally known budget expert Isabel V. Sawhill presents likely causes for the recent changes in the traditional family structure, such as the increase in women s economic opportunities, declining economic prospects of men, access to birth control and abortion, and new social norms that allow young people more choices - but provide less guidance on what it means to be an adult.Sawhill reveals an emerging class divide in patterns of marriage and childbearing: at the top of the ladder are planners, who are marrying and having children only after establishing a career; at the bottom, and increasingly in the middle, are drifters who are having children early, outside of marriage, and without the stable support of the second parent.Sawhill sees merit in the views of those on the political left, who argue for more social support for the drifters, including expanded child care, parental leave, family-friendly workplaces, and financial assistance, and for those on the right who argue for restoring traditional marriage so that children are raised in a stable family. But, she also points out that while collective responses are needed, they alone can t solve the problem. Any such efforts must be combined with the exercise of greater personal responsibility by potential parents themselves. Seller Inventory # AAN9780815726357

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Book Description BROOKINGS INSTITUTION, United States, 2014. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. Half of all pregnancies in the United States are either unplanned or unintended. Moreover, while fewer people are getting married, childbearing outside of wedlock is on the rise. These trends suggest that couples who have unplanned children are ambivalent or unenthusiastic about becoming parents, or, at the very least, are unprepared for parenthood. What kind of future does this mean for their kids . . . and for society as a whole?In Generation Unbound, nationally known budget expert Isabel V. Sawhill presents likely causes for the recent changes in the traditional family structure, such as the increase in women s economic opportunities, declining economic prospects of men, access to birth control and abortion, and new social norms that allow young people more choices - but provide less guidance on what it means to be an adult.Sawhill reveals an emerging class divide in patterns of marriage and childbearing: at the top of the ladder are planners, who are marrying and having children only after establishing a career; at the bottom, and increasingly in the middle, are drifters who are having children early, outside of marriage, and without the stable support of the second parent.Sawhill sees merit in the views of those on the political left, who argue for more social support for the drifters, including expanded child care, parental leave, family-friendly workplaces, and financial assistance, and for those on the right who argue for restoring traditional marriage so that children are raised in a stable family. But, she also points out that while collective responses are needed, they alone can t solve the problem. Any such efforts must be combined with the exercise of greater personal responsibility by potential parents themselves. Seller Inventory # BTE9780815726357

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