new research

Oy, it's still this bad?

Both fathers and mothers pay dearly for the miracle of parenthood, but in most cases, it’s women who pony up for the bulk of those costs, even fifty years after Betty Friedan lambasted what she titled The Feminine Mystique.  I often think of a Census Bureau report released last yearon who provides care for our children. Suzanne Bianchi, who clocked in sixteen years as a Census demographer, discovered, stunningly, that mothers actually spend more time caring for a child today than they did in 1965, back when sixty percent of them stayed at home full-time.  In her book Changing Rhythms of American Family Life, Bianchi reports that married mothers devote about thirteen hours a week to childcare, up from about …

How liberating!

This month, the Center for Disease Control reported that birth rates had dropped again, for the fourth year in a row, bottoming out under 4 million babies born for the first time since 1998.  Commentators immediately rushed to their laptop, ringing the alarm bells to fault the economy for our flaccid national desire to procreate. To be sure, low fertility accompanies a weak economy without fail. But to blame the markets for what happens in our bedrooms misses a radical reshaping of our worldview. It’s not just the economy, it’s liberation. The pursuit of happiness has emerged as our new national ideology, trumping the age-old belief that parental duty is the very definition, of adulthood.  Some think it’s the height …