From the Hamilton Project:
Fewer Americans are married today than at any point in at least 50 years. The causes of this trend and the consequences for Americans’ well-being are naturally the subject of much debate. Charles Murray's new book, Coming Apart: The State of White America, 1960-2010, argues that the decline in marriage, and the concurrent decline in work, is the product of changes in values or social norms that have eroded both industriousness and marital values. This argument ignores well-documented changes in demand that have caused the earnings of many Americans to decline. The decline in marriage is concentrated among these very same Americans. A large body of evidence links the decline in employment and earnings for less-skilled workers to globalization, technological change, and changes in labor market institutions—changes beyond the ability of individuals to control no matter what their values are.
One of the most important reasons we care about marriage is because of the clear association between marriage and poverty: women and children in single-parent households are at particular risk for living in poverty and indeed family earnings for half of the nation’s children have been falling over time. Rather than focusing on changing values, a more effective approach to addressing both poverty and marriage may be to improve economic opportunities for all Americans, particularly for low-skilled, less-educated workers.