The two Americas

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The employment data above are from Randall Parker (seasonally adjusted for what it’s worth), and originally the Labor Department. Randall had it as a tabular display, but I think a simple bar plot is more illustrative. The percentage of unmarried births is from the Census.

It looks like Americans with university degrees or higher are basically at full employment. Additionally, the substantial majority of Americans with university degrees or higher are in the labor force. In contrast, only a minority of Americans without high school diplomas, and only a simple majority of Americans with high school diplomas, are in the labor force.

Labor force participation is pretty straightforward. If you are looking for a job, or have a job, you are part of the labor force. Everyone else is part of the whole population (e.g., those who are homemakers, etc.).

FT_15.12.4.college.marriage2As for births to unmarried women, those with university degrees basically live in a different universe. I didn’t want to clutter the above chart anymore, so I didn’t mention divorce. But you can see from the data to the left that college educated Americans tend to have very long marriages. In contrast, when the non-college do get married, divorce is rather common.

I’m pretty bullish on America, and the world. But that’s easy for me to say, since I am the sort of person who has more work than time, and my work is very fulfilling. Also, I’m married, with beautiful healthy children. I’m a lucky person, and the world seems charmed. It’s simply not in my interest to rock the boat.

But for those for whom only desperation stretches out before them, desperate acts can seem quite rational. Those with nothing to lose have nothing to lose.

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