Young Americans today are challenged with an incredibly competitive global economy requiring skills derived from a rigorous, high quality education. The workplace will continue to become more competitive on a global scale, and the cost of education probably will continue to outstrip inflation for decades to come.
This new American Experiment symposium grows out of a book of mine published just about a year ago, From Family Collapse to America’s Decline: The Educational, Economic, and Social Costs of Family Fragmentation, which examined many of the problems and shortcomings resulting from very high rates of nonmarital births, very high rates of divorce, and routinely short-lived cohabiting relationships. One of the book’s central themes is how such family churning—more specifically, the extent to which it hurts great numbers of children—is leading, and can only lead, to stunted mobility and deeper class divisions in a nation that has never viewed itself in such splintered ways.
Family life in America is bad. You probably have some idea about this, but it’s worse than you think. How bad? The worst in the industrialized world for starters. Want a surreal indicator of this fact? Even children born to cohabiting (unmarried) parents in Sweden stand a lesser chance of experiencing their parents breaking up than children born to married parents in the US. Jaw dropping.