The labor market fate of the nation’s male teens and young adults (ages 20—29) has deteriorated along most employment, weekly wages, and annual earnings dimensions in recent decades. The employment rates reached new post—World War II lows in 2009, with the less well educated faring the worst. The deterioration in the labor market well-being of these young men has had a number of adverse consequences on their social behavior. Less-educated young men, especially high school dropouts, are far more likely to be incarcerated than their peers in earlier decades. They are considerably less likely to be married and more likely to be absent fathers, with gaps in marriage rates across educational groups widening substantially since the 1970s. The decline in marriage among less-educated young adults, high assortative mating among younger married couples, and growing gaps in earnings across educational groups have contributed to a substantial widening in income and wealth disparities among the nation’s young families.
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