The End of Men Means the End of Marriage

For decades now, the labor market has trended away from male-dominated jobs in manufacturing and agriculture and toward female-dominated jobs such as education and health care. As we noted previously, an adverse consequence of the disappearance of traditionally male jobs is an impedance of marriage and family formation.

Lowering the economic status of males relative to females makes males less marriageable. In marriage, pretty much the only value a man can bring to the table is as an economic provider. Taking away a man’s advantage in providing economic resources leaves him without leverage in the marriage market.

Now a new report predicts that the labor market will continue to trend against men and towards women.

Overall, occupations that are more than 80% female are projected to grow at nearly twice the rate of jobs that are at least 60% male between 2014 and 2024, according to research out this week from the jobs site Indeed and its chief economist, Jed Kolko. The site researched Bureau of Labor Statistics and found that many are jobs that are traditionally dominated by women — including occupational therapy assistants, physical therapy assistants and nurse practitioners — are growing at the fastest rate. They will grow at about a 40% rate, compared to an overall rate of 6.5% for all jobs.

Meanwhile, the male-dominated jobs are expected to contract.

[M]anufacturing and agriculture, which have traditionally employed more men than women, are projected to lose jobs in the next decade.

This article does not even mention that, over perhaps a bit longer horizon, huge numbers of driving jobs done my men are under threat from self-driving vehicles.

Anyone who values the traditional family unit as an important social institution should be very concerned with the increasing economic irrelevance of men. So should anyone concerned with low and declining birth rates. The way things are going, the only economically viable men are going to be the cognitive elite who work in science and technology. The rest of the men, however, are going to have generally poor marriage prospects. The women gainfully employed in health care are not going to want to marry unemployable men just so they can stay home and play Mr. Mom. That sort of traditional role-reversal might sound appealing in the abstract, but as a practical matter it won’t play out in the real world.

Historically, about 10 percent of 35-year-old women were unmarried, and a fair number of those would have been widows. Now, about 40 percent of 35-year-old American women are unmarried. Look for this figure to just keep increasing.

I’m not sure what we can do to solve or alleviate this problem. The default response from government seems to be to make the problem even worse by subsidizing single motherhood with various benefits such as subsidized day care. Another way that government exacerbates the problem is by making women beneficiaries of ‘affirmative action.’ Such policies, at the very least, need to be resisted.

Spread the word.Share on TumblrShare on StumbleUponShare on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someone