I previously wrote a chapter for a scholarly volume on a topic that seemed to interest a lot of readers: “Single, no children: Who is your family?” Like many academic books, that one was outrageously expensive ($240 for the hardcover, $98 for the paperback). Happily, I now have permission from the publisher to reprint my chapter in a brief collection of a few other writings of mine on family (some new, some previously published). I’ve put them together into a book by the same name as that original chapter, Single, No Children: Who Is Your Family? And, this time, the work is very affordable ($8.98 for the paperback, $3.49 for the e-book).
Much of my writing about single life is about people who have always been single, or about all unmarried people, regardless of whether they have always been single or have previously been married. But I do occasionally write specifically about people who are divorced and people who are widowed. Here are some of those articles, along with some writings on remarriage.
Who counts as single? There is more than one possible answer. Who counts as family if you are single and have no kids? What should we call adults who have no kids? Here are some discussions.
I have been scrutinizing the research on single parents and their children for more than a decade. I’ve learned lots of things, but perhaps the most important one is this: all those predictions you hear about how the children of single parents are doomed are grossly exaggerated or just plain wrong.
Every time I learn about a new claim that getting married makes people happier or healthier or more connected or live longer (and all the rest), I go to the original research report to see what the findings really did say. The media — and sadly, many social scientists — routinely get it wrong. No, getting married does not cause you to become lastingly happier or healthier or better off in any way than if you stayed single (well, you do get more money because of all the laws and practices that benefit married people and discriminate against singles).
Here (below), you can find links to all my critiques of these studies. I’ll keep adding more as new claims hit the media that I need to debunk. I’ve also put together 2 books of my writings explaining why all those Marriage Wins claims are so wrong. Marriage vs. Single Life: How Science and the Media Got It So Wrong includes a chapter previously available only in an expensive edited volume, a new paper that is the most powerful and comprehensive explanation of what the research does and does not show about the implications of getting married, plus 39 other brief chapters (many from my blogs). Because I think that new powerful and comprehensive paper is so important, I have made it into a stand-alone book (together with an introduction) in The Science of Marriage: What We Know That Just Isn’t So. (Both are available both as paperbacks and as ebooks. You can read more about them here.) My first book, Singled Out, also includes discussions and explanations of what’s wrong with the claims of married people’s superiority.
“White privilege” and “male privilege” are familiar concepts in our cultural conversations. There is, however, another vast swath of unearned privileges that have gone largely unrecognized, even though they unfairly advantage about half of the adult population in the United States. We’re talking about marital privileges. People who marry enjoy social, cultural, economic, and political advantages that single people do not, simply because they are married.