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Generation Unbound: Drifting into Sex and Parenthood without Marriage Paperback – September 25, 2014
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"Forty years ago, Isabel Sawhill inspired a generation of scholars, including myself, with her landmark research on divorce. Now, she does it again, turning her sharp eye on non-marital childbearing with equal success. Free of ideology and comprehensive in scope, her story highlights how the decline in marriage is affecting children's life chances and what might be done to reverse the trend."―Sara McLanahan, William S. Tod Professor of Sociology and Public Affairs, Princeton University
"Dr. Sawhill makes a thoughtful, fresh, rigorously documented case for reducing unplanned pregnancies. She pushes against a strong headwind to argue for two parent families as often as possible. If she is right about the economc and cultural implications about pur changing procreation behavior, we have a lot of work to do."―Donna Shalala, Former Secretary of Health and Human Services
"No one is better qualified than Belle Sawhill to tackle two of the most important questions facing America today. At a time of rapidly changing family structure, who is best able to raise children? And how can we do a better job of making sure the children who are born are welcomed by parents who are prepared to give them the love and sustained attention they deserve? Full of new research and analysis, this book will make you re-think what you know about both."―Judy Woodruff, PBS Newshour
"Belle Sawhill has written an extraordinary book that surfaces and analyzes the most important demographic shift over the last 50 years: the trend of young adults drifting into parenthood, rather than planning for it. The negative implications for the ability of young adults and their children to achieve the American Dream are profound and deeply troubling, but this superbly written book, drawing on insights from behavioral economics, provides clearheaded, actionable recommendations of how we can change course and ensure that every young person can achieve their full potential. Generation Unbound is a must read for policy makers, change agents, parents, anyone working to ensure that America continues to be the land of opportunity."―Mark Edwards, Executive Director, Opportunity Nation
Isabel Sawhill takes a more serious view. A former budget aide for Bill Clinton who now works at the Brookings Institution in Washington, DC, she has been pondering the state of the family for decades. Generation Unbound is clear, concise and admirably fair-minded.The Economist
An important new book.Nicholas Kristoff, The New York Times
You won't find a clearer-eyed analyst of family and poverty than Sawhill to serve as guides in charting a new way forward Conservatives will have to do better in order to compete with the vision promoted in these books, which speaks forthrightly to the left, right, and middle.Emily Bazelon, The Atlantic
Isabel Sawhill of the Brookings Institution makes a compelling case that the humble IUD could help halt the ongoing rise of single mothers, who are disproportionately impoverished.Jordan Weissman, Slate
Thoughtful I highly recommend.Catherine Rampell, The Washington Post
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.
Top Customer Reviews
What has happened in the 50 years since then has affected black families, Hispanic families and white families. Almost unbelievably, approximately 70 percent of black births are now out of wedlock. Hispanics are next; and then come whites. Sawhill doesn't mention it in "Generation Unbound" but Asian-American out-of-welock births are still very low in comparison to all others.
What is going on? Sawhill points to a tipping point which occurred when the of age of first marriage became higher than the age of parenthood. In sum, children were born and present before marriage occurred. Of significance, such is not the case for college-graduate Americans, whose investments in education, a number of years in the workforce and marriage keep out-of-wedlock births at low levels.
Where the out-of-wedlock birth rates have become especially problematic is in the 20-to-30 year old range, among those soley with a high-school diploma or with some college only. Unlike the past where single parentage may have accidental because of death or primarily because of divorce, today it is happening largely because young women are having out-of-wedlock births either by accident or choice. Even with the most effective contraceptives in human history and with the option of legal abortion, the out-of-wedlock birth rate is at an historic all-time high.Read more ›
Dr. Sawhill shows the convention of marriage, arising over thousands of years, unraveling in the past fifty. She supplies plenty of data, especially regarding adverse effects on low income, single-parent children. Two results seem clear. First, low-income children face new challenges in preparing for and succeeding in adulthood. Second, the man-woman, “till-death-do-us-part” marriage no longer reflects living arrangements for most Americans—especially those with assets below the top 25 percent. I found the adverse impacts on children surprising. Low income children in single parent families probably have a high likelihood of repeating the same economic struggles as their parents. Their plight affects all Americans.
Dr. Sawhill seeks public policies that change the game. She hopes that parents will plan for children and welcome them into nurturing homes. She supports existing education, health, and income supplements but notes these are not enough. Her key finding is that a high proportion of parents drift into unplanned and sometimes unwanted children. Existing contraception policies are not working. She calls for a shift to long acting reversible contraception (LARC), probably offered under the Affordable Care Act.Read more ›
With decades of research available to support her findings, Sawhill discusses the cultural acceptance of the "hook-up culture" recreational sex; also unwed parenthood- the taboo and stigma against this from the 1950's-1960's where sexual relationships led to commitment and marriage. Single parent families represented only 7% of the population in 1950 and increased to 32% in 2013. Ambitious college students focus on their education first, followed by established employment, marriage and children. The "hook-up" culture clearly benefits men the most, (affecting college, middle class, and lower income people) also multiple partnered relationships where single parenthood (and the children born of these unions) are the norm and culturally accepted, without the stability of marriage.
Economic prospects for men and women with only a high school education/GED are limited to low wage work typically in the service economy. This has particularly reduced the pool of marriageable men, especially with the rates of male incarceration factored in.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Generation Unbound by Isabel V. Sawhill is a free Goodreads FirstReads advance reader copy of a paperback book that I received in early October, one semester after I had taken a... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Kristine Fisher
Excellent book. Sawhill goes into great detail about the breakdown of the American family and its impact not just on the family, but on American society on the national level. Read morePublished 6 months ago by Mmmmkay
what I received was not the true book. instead it was a series of repetitions of the first 18 pages----a colossal ripoff.Published 13 months ago by roy lotz
A fascinating look at the data, by an author who is trying her best not to be biased to either the Left or the Right. I appreciate this. Recommended.Published 13 months ago by Penny Thoughtful
Readable, important and succinct. I read it on a Kindle, but was sorry I didn't have the paperback to underline.
I read it and then ordered another for a concerned friend.
Excellent!!! Opens new avenues for analysis & action in a most relevant social problem..Published 15 months ago by eduardo p amadeo
What will be the consequences now that "a majority of women under 30 are not married to their children's fathers" (p 3)? Think of that. The majority. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Jeri
I work with first-time pregnant women in my job, so this book was of particular interest to me. I think it is astonishing that greater than 50% of all births in the U.S. Read morePublished 16 months ago by peejay
Great book. Unconventional wisdom on how to reduce unwanted children among single women who are not ready or desirous of becoming parentsPublished 17 months ago by V. Jolissaint