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Kathryn Lopez:

As young men and women reach for whomever to satisfy a feeling — divorcing sex not only from commitment but sometimes from even an illusory sense of love — their choices will have long-term impacts. Discussing his new study, “When Marriage Disappears: The Retreat from Marriage in Middle America,” W. Bradford Wilcox recently told me, “We are witnessing the emergence of a whole new class of communities — especially in rural and small-town America, and the outer suburbs — where scores of children and young men are growing up apart from the civilizing power of marriage and a stable family life.” He continued, “This does not bode well for the economic and social health of these communities. . . . . Among children in middle America, family breakdown typically doubles delinquency, drug use, psychological problems, and teenage pregnancy. Children who grow up without two married parents are also significantly less likely to do well in school, to graduate from college, and to hold down a steady job later in life.”

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