FEMALE HYPERGAMY’S CONSEQUENCES: Poor Marriage Prospects For Low-Status Men. And a lot of it is foreign trade: “Trade shocks reduce the availability and desirability of potentially marriageable young men along multiple dimensions.”
It’s not only that young working-class men are less marriageable when jobs dry up, but that some of these men are actually disappearing, the paper noted. When Chinese imports take a greater share of trade, the ratio of young men to women declines by 1.7 percentage points, they found. The study examined population shifts in commuting zones, or the 722 regions that cover the continental U.S. and represent a regional economic area.
Where are these young men going? Many are turning to risky behaviors such as heavy drinking and drug use. Trade shocks are leading to higher mortality rates for young men, which explains some — but not all — of the imbalance. Young men are also disappearing because they’re incarcerated, homeless or migrating to other areas to find better job opportunities.
The research doesn’t paint a pretty picture, but it’s one that may be familiar to many Americans in rural areas or in cities that once relied on manufacturing. Rustbelt cities and rural regions are struggling to cope with a rise in opioid addictions, such as the record-breaking 52 overdoses in Louisville, Kentucky, in 32 hours earlier this month.
Drug use is also taking a toll on middle-age Americans. Two years ago, research from Princeton professors Angus Deaton and Anne Case grabbed headlines with their finding that white middle-age Americans are dying at higher rates because of suicide, addiction, liver disease and other afflictions.
Fundamentally transformed. But can we un-transform?