The recent increase in dysfunctional behavior among non-college white men correlates with the substantial increase in the rate of white nonmarital births, up from 22.2 in 1993 to 35.7 percent in 2014. In 1965, the white nonmarital birthrate was 3.4 percent
At the same time, the divorce rate for college graduates has declined from 34.8 percent among those born between 1950 and 1955 to 29.9 percent among those born between 1957 and 1964. In contrast, the divorce rate for those without college degrees increased over the same period from 44.3 percent to 50.6 percent.
While marriages are breaking up more in the working class, an extensive study of divorce found that “infidelity, domestic violence, and substance abuse were the most often endorsed ‘final straw’ reasons” for the dissolution of marriages. These are all behaviors that men from disrupted families — who often have difficulty holding relationships together — frequently demonstrate.
For many men without college degrees, the scaffolding that underpinned their fathers’ lives has been torn down.