'The Sequence' Is the Secret to Success

Carolyn Means - Thursday, March 29, 2018

Wendy Wang, director of research for Family Studies, wrote an article published in The Wall Street Journal today. Based on one of the best studies of youth and young adults, researchers have identified a 'success sequence': getting a high school diploma, working, and then marrying before having children. In India, Asia and Japan, parents teach their children that the path to success runs through this sequence. Thus, in these regions, less than 4% of births are out of wedlock. In America, the path to the American Dream also depends upon following the sequence. But Wang and her colleague found that among millennials of lower-income, over 44% had a child out of wedlock versus 19% of their upper-income peers. A common statement by high-school students in the lower-income group was, "No one in my school talks about this," or "My mom never said anything either." Wang concludes, "It's time to stop hoarding the success-sequence message and start sharing it with those who need it the most," through MTV shows and media campaigns. 

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