Family Structure and the Reproduction of Inequalities

Family Structure and the Reproduction of Inequalities

by Sara McLanahan

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Over the past four decades, income inequality has increased and family structures have diversified. We argue that family structure has become an important mechanism for the reproduction of class, race, and gender inequalities. We review studies of income inequality and family structure changes and find a wide range of estimates of the correlation. We discuss how increases in income inequality may lead to increases in single motherhood, particularly among less educated women. Single motherhood in turn decreases intergenerational economic mobility by affecting children's material resources and the parenting they experience. Because of the unequal distribution of family structure by race and the negative effects of single motherhood, family structure changes exacerbate racial inequalities. Gender inequalities also increase as mothers incur more child-related costs and fewer fathers experience family life with children.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940013393714
Publisher: Annual Reviews
Publication date: 09/06/2011
Series: Annual Review of Sociology , #34
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 19
File size: 6 MB

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