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Defying the “Success Sequence”

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The New York Times recently acknowledged that some of the recent changes in marriage and childbearing have damaged our country. Noting that a big majority—55 percent—of first children born to millennial couples are now born outside of marriage, columnist David Leonhardt explained that this “new normal” violates the “success sequence” established long-ago by the Brookings Institution.

That research proved that young people, whatever their background, could minimize any chance of long-term poverty by taking thee simple steps: graduating from high school, getting a job—any job—right after graduation from high school or college, and bearing children only after marriage, not before.

The success sequence shows that good choices can help all people avoid bad outcomes, even if they’re disadvantaged, while bad choices are likely to produce bad outcomes, even for the more privileged. Welcoming children in their traditional context of marital commitment, rather than in more tenuous, non-marital relationships, will benefit those children, their parents and society at large.

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