The school readiness gap between children from affluent nad lower-income families is narrowing, researchers report. Poor kids are starting with better reading and math skills.
It could be condoms and contraceptives, writes Derek Thompson in The Atlantic.
Teen pregnancy is way down in recent years: The teen birth rate has fallen almost by half since 1990, Thompson writes. Adolescents aren’t having less sex, but they’re much more likely to use contraceptives.
As a result, fewer children are being born to young, single, low-income girls and women.
In the 1970s, most mothers — rich or poor — had children in their early 20s, writes Thompson. That’s changed, writes sociologist Robert Putnam in Our Kids. College graduates are marrying and having children in their late 20s and early 30s, “while moms with just a high-school education or less become moms at the average age of 19.”
An astonishing 65 percent of all mothers with no more than a high-school degree are unmarried at the time of their child’s birth; that figure has tripled since 1980. (By comparison, 90 percent of new moms who finished college are married.) Too often, rich kids have two intentional parents armed with childrearing books and newfangled toys for infants, while poor kids have one accidental parent armed with none of that.
Children born to poor single mothers get less parental attention, writes Thompson. Often the mother is working and the father is absent. The kids miss out on what Putnam calls “Goodnight Moon time.”