About a month ago, I was a presenter at a conference at which James Q. Wilson was also presenting. Prof. Wilson alluded to the results of a rather famous study he did some years ago. He and his colleagues found that there are just 3 things a person needs to do in order to avoid poverty:
1. Graduate from high school.
2. Postpone having children until after age 20 and
3. postpone having children until marriage.
According to Wilson, if a person does these 3 things, his or her chance of being poor is only 8%. If a person fails to do these 3 things, their chances of becoming poor are 78%.
Now that I am thinking about it, I can't remember whether that 78% figure refers to people who fail to do any one of these three things, or to people who fail to do all three.
In any case, it is a pretty interesting summary finding.