Wondering where all the 'good' men have gone? Kate Bolick has written this provocative and thoughtful piece, "All the Single Ladies" for The Atlantic. I'd like to provide part, here: 1. Recent years have seen an explosion of male joblessness and a steep decline in mens life prospects that have disrupted the romantic market in ways that narrow a marriage-minded womans options: increasingly, her choice is between deadbeats (whose numbers are rising) and playboys (whose power is growing). as women have climbed ever higher, men have been falling behind. Weve arrived at the top of the staircase, finally ready to start our lives, only to discover a cavernous room at the tail end of a party, most of the men gone already, some having never shown upand those who remain are leering by the cheese table, or are, you know, the ones you dont want to go out with. 2. For starters, we keep putting marriage off. In 1960, the median age of first marriage in the U.S. was 23 for men and 20 for women; today it is 28 and 26. Today, a smaller proportion of American women in their early 30s are married than at any other point since the 1950s, if not earlier. Were also marrying lesswith a significant degree of change taking place in just the past decade and a half. In 1997, 29 percent of my Gen X cohort was married; among todays Millennials that figure has dropped to 22 percent. (Compare that with 1960, when more than half of those ages 18 to 29 had already tied the knot.) These numbers reflect major attitudinal shifts. According to the Pew Research Center, a full 44 percent of Millennials and 43 percent of Gen Xers think that marriage is becoming obsolete. we no longer need husbands to have children, nor do we have to have children if we dont want to. Even as single motherhood is no longer a disgrace, motherhood itself is no longer compulsory. 3. Foremost among the reasons for all these changes in family structure are the gains of the womens movement. Over the past half century, women have steadily gained onand are in some ways surpassingmen in education and employment. From 1970 (seven years after the Equal Pay Act was passed) to 2007, womens earnings grew by 44 percent, compared with 6 percent for men. In 2008, women still earned just 77 cents to the male dollarbut that figure doesnt account for the difference in hours worked, or the fact that women tend to choose lower-paying fields like nursing or education. A 2010 study of single, childless urban workers between the ages of 22 and 30 found that the women actually earned 8 percent more than the men. Women are also more likely than men to go to college: in 2010, 55 percent of all college graduates ages 25 to 29 were female. 4. But while the rise of women has been good for everyone, the decline of males has obviously been bad news for menand bad news for marriage. For all the changes the institution has undergone, American women as a whole have never been confronted with such a radically shrinking pool of what are traditionally considered to be marriageable menthose who are better educated and earn more than they do. So women are now contending with what we might call the new scarcity. Even as women have seen their range of options broaden in recent yearsfor instance, expanding the kind of men its culturally acceptable to be with, and making it okay not to marry at allthe new scarcity disrupts what economists call the marriage market in a way that in fact narrows the available choices, making a good man harder to find than ever. At the rate things are going, the next generations pool of good men will be significantly smaller. What does this portend for the future of the American family? 5. In societies where men heavily outnumber womenin whats known as a high-sex-ratio societywomen are valued and treated with deference and respect and use their high dyadic power to create loving, committed bonds with their partners and raise families. Rates of illegitimacy and divorce are low. Womens traditional roles as mothers and homemakers are held in high esteem. In such situations, however, men also use the power of their greater numbers to limit womens economic and political strength, and female literacy and labor-force participation drop. But, when confronted with a surplus of women, men become promiscuous and unwilling to commit to a monogamous relationship .fewer people marry, and those who do marry do so later in life. Because men take advantage of the variety of potential partners available to them, womens traditional roles are not valued, and because these women cant rely on their partners to stick around, more turn to extrafamilial ambitions like education and career .If dating and mating is in fact a marketplaceand of course it istoday were contending with a new dating gap, where marriage-minded women are increasingly confronted with either deadbeats or players. All the Single Ladies - Magazine - The Atlantic And, our children....?