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Generation Unbound: Drifting Into Sex and Parenthood Without Marriage – Book Salon Preview

Generation Unbound: Drifting into Sex and Parenthood without Marriage

Chat with Isabel V. Sawhill about her new book. Hosted by Laura Sessions Stepp, toady at 5pm ET, 2pm PT.

Over half of all births to young adults in the United States now occur outside of marriage, and many are unplanned. The result is increased poverty and inequality for children. The left argues for more social support for unmarried parents; the right argues for a return to traditional marriage.

In Generation Unbound, Isabel V. Sawhill offers a third approach: change “drifters” into “planners.” In a well-written and accessible survey of the impact of family structure on child well-being, Sawhill contrasts “planners,” who are delaying parenthood until after they marry, with “drifters,” who are having unplanned children early and outside of marriage. These two distinct patterns are contributing to an emerging class divide and threatening social mobility in the United States.

Sawhill draws on insights from the new field of behavioral economics, showing that it is possible, by changing the default, to move from a culture that accepts a high number of unplanned pregnancies to a culture in which adults only have children when they are ready to be a parent.

Isabel V. Sawhill is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution. She serves as co-director of the Budgeting for National Priorities project and co-director of the Center on Children and Families. She holds the Cabot Family Chair. In 2009, she began the Social Genome Project, an initiative by the Center on Children and Families that seeks to determine how to increase economic opportunity for disadvantaged children. She served as vice president and director of the Economic Studies program from 2003 to 2006. Prior to joining Brookings, Dr. Sawhill was a senior fellow at The Urban Institute. She also served as an associate director at the Office of Management and Budget from 1993 to 1995, where her responsibilities included all of the human resource programs of the federal government, accounting for one third of the federal budget.

Her research has spanned a wide array of economic and social issues, including fiscal policy, economic growth, poverty and inequality, welfare reform, the well-being of children, and changes in the family. In addition, she has authored or edited numerous books and articles including Creating an Opportunity Society with Ron Haskins; Restoring Fiscal Sanity 2005: Meeting the Long-Run Challenge and Restoring Fiscal Sanity: How to Balance the Budget, both with Alice Rivlin; One Percent for the Kids: New Policies, Brighter Futures for America’s Children; Welfare Reform and Beyond: The Future of the Safety Net; Updating America’s Social Contract: Economic Growth and Opportunity in the New Century; Getting Ahead: Economic and Social Mobility in America; and Challenge to Leadership: Economic and Social Issues for the Next Decade.

Dr. Sawhill helped to found The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and now serves as the President of its board. She has been a Visiting Professor at Georgetown Law School, Director of the National Commission for Employment Policy, and President of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. She also serves on a number of boards. She attended Wellesley College and received her Ph.D. from New York University in 1968. (Brookings Institution Books)

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Generation Unbound: Drifting Into Sex and Parenthood Without Marriage – Book Salon Preview

Generation Unbound: Drifting into Sex and Parenthood without Marriage

Chat with Isabel V. Sawhill about her new book. Hosted by Laura Sessions Stepp, toady at 5pm ET, 2pm PT.

Over half of all births to young adults in the United States now occur outside of marriage, and many are unplanned. The result is increased poverty and inequality for children. The left argues for more social support for unmarried parents; the right argues for a return to traditional marriage.

In Generation Unbound, Isabel V. Sawhill offers a third approach: change “drifters” into “planners.” In a well-written and accessible survey of the impact of family structure on child well-being, Sawhill contrasts “planners,” who are delaying parenthood until after they marry, with “drifters,” who are having unplanned children early and outside of marriage. These two distinct patterns are contributing to an emerging class divide and threatening social mobility in the United States.

Sawhill draws on insights from the new field of behavioral economics, showing that it is possible, by changing the default, to move from a culture that accepts a high number of unplanned pregnancies to a culture in which adults only have children when they are ready to be a parent.

Isabel V. Sawhill is a senior fellow in Economic Studies at the Brookings Institution. She serves as co-director of the Budgeting for National Priorities project and co-director of the Center on Children and Families. She holds the Cabot Family Chair. In 2009, she began the Social Genome Project, an initiative by the Center on Children and Families that seeks to determine how to increase economic opportunity for disadvantaged children. She served as vice president and director of the Economic Studies program from 2003 to 2006. Prior to joining Brookings, Dr. Sawhill was a senior fellow at The Urban Institute. She also served as an associate director at the Office of Management and Budget from 1993 to 1995, where her responsibilities included all of the human resource programs of the federal government, accounting for one third of the federal budget.

Her research has spanned a wide array of economic and social issues, including fiscal policy, economic growth, poverty and inequality, welfare reform, the well-being of children, and changes in the family. In addition, she has authored or edited numerous books and articles including Creating an Opportunity Society with Ron Haskins; Restoring Fiscal Sanity 2005: Meeting the Long-Run Challenge and Restoring Fiscal Sanity: How to Balance the Budget, both with Alice Rivlin; One Percent for the Kids: New Policies, Brighter Futures for America’s Children; Welfare Reform and Beyond: The Future of the Safety Net; Updating America’s Social Contract: Economic Growth and Opportunity in the New Century; Getting Ahead: Economic and Social Mobility in America; and Challenge to Leadership: Economic and Social Issues for the Next Decade.

Dr. Sawhill helped to found The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy and now serves as the President of its board. She has been a Visiting Professor at Georgetown Law School, Director of the National Commission for Employment Policy, and President of the Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management. She also serves on a number of boards. She attended Wellesley College and received her Ph.D. from New York University in 1968. (Brookings Institution Books)

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