We could call them the lower-middle class or the upper-working class, but the better term is the moderately educated middle. They do not have BAs, MBAs, or PhDs. But they are not high-school dropouts either. They might have even achieved some college or training beyond high school. They are not upscale, but they are not poor. They don’t occupy any of the margins, yet they are often overlooked, even though they make up the largest share of the American middle class. In many respects, these high-school graduates are quite similar to their college-educated peers. They work. They pay taxes. They raise children. They take family vacations. But there is one thing that today’s moderately educated men and women, unlike today’s college graduates or yesterday’s high-school graduates, are increasingly less likely to do: get and stay happily married.
As they note later on, this same group has seen their wages diminish and employment opportunities vanish over the last few decades. If nobody can afford to own anything but the clothes on their back, what’s the point in joining an institution centered on the orderly transfer of property? What are they going to bequeath to their children, a mountain of credit card debt?
I was just talking to a friend last week who told me about her recent engagement. She said they were going to spend the next year saving up for the wedding, which struck me funny. Maybe a more realistic approach would be to skimp on the wedding and save your money for the divorce attorneys.