Here is Fields:
Welfare reform did much to remove financial incentives for poor women to continue having illegitimate children, but illegitimacy remains a big problem for poor blacks, and the caste systems widens for children who grow up without fathers. Poor single mothers generally lack marketable skills that will carry them into a higher financial bracket, and their children are at a major educational disadvantage when competing with children of middle-class families.
These single moms have lost considerably more than a man in the house. They've lost the middle-class script for planning for the future, and they've lost the traditional institutional arrangement that's required for upward mobility, made all the more crucial in a knowledge economy when a college drop-out can no longer find a job in manufacturing.
There is so much evidence now that marriage is a protective factor against all kinds of child pathologies. While the rich and trendy at universities deconstruct marriage, the fact is that college educated women still insist on marriage before child-bearing. Among the poor, who can least afford the risk, marriage is more of a dream than a reality. Many poor women desire marrige, but don't think it is a realistic possibility for them.
I truly wish Kay well with her new book, Marriage and Caste in America . She is an able writer, and this topic deserves all the attention it can get.