But not all such programs are effective, and they face an uphill struggle: the evidence suggests that class differences in parenting styles are growing, rather than diminishing.
The developmental stage prior to infancy is the prenatal period, from conception to birth.
Finally, and critically, in my view, the better-educated are much more successful at avoiding the arrival of a baby before they are in a committed relationship and ready to be parents.
An unwed birth, not divorce, is now the most common entry point into single parenthood.
Scientists have just begun to diagram the underlying mechanics, but the consequences of events during pregnancy are numerous and clear.
In a study published in the for example, the most anxious 15 percent of participating mothers were twice as likely to deliver children with behavioral concerns like ADHD; the effect remained even after controlling for the mothers’ postnatal stress.It doesn’t explain why some young adults feel they are too poor to marry but believe they can afford to raise a child.Or why marriage was so much more prevalent in an earlier era, when everyone had fewer resources. The full series will appear in our Spring 2015 issue to mark the 50th anniversary of the 1965 release of Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s report “The Negro Family: The Case for National Action” (generally referred to as the Moynihan Report). Indeed, they have “trickled up” to encompass not just a much larger fraction of the African American community but a large swath of the white community as well. The proportion of black children born outside marriage was 72 percent in 2012, while the white proportion was 36 percent (see “Was Moynihan Right? The effects on children of the increase in single parents is no longer much debated.Fifty years ago, in 1965, Daniel Patrick Moynihan presciently warned that the breakdown of the family was becoming a key source of disadvantage in the African American community. They do less well in school, are less likely to graduate, and are more likely to be involved in crime, teen pregnancy, and other behaviors that make it harder to succeed in life.If true, this sets the stage for a cycle of poverty in which mother-headed families produce boys who go on to father their own children outside marriage.But what does all of this have to do with education?One reason that education may help to increase marriage rates is that the better-educated tend to have more egalitarian gender roles, which makes marriage more appealing, especially to women.For women who work outside the home, flexible parenting arrangements help them avoid having to “do it all” and the resentment that engenders.Rates of social mobility are also lower for these families.Harvard researcher Raj Chetty and his colleagues find that the incidence of single parenthood in a community is one of the most powerful predictors of geographic differences in social mobility in the United States.