Two classes in America divided by 'I do'

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Published: Monday, July 16 2012 4:13 p.m. MDT

Our take: Striking changes in family structure have broadened income gaps and posed new barriers to upward mobility. College-educated Americans are increasingly likely to marry one another, compounding their growing advantages in pay. Less-educated women, who left college without finishing their degree, are growing less likely to marry at all, raising children on pinched paychecks that come in ones, not twos.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — Jessica Schairer has so much in common with her boss, Chris Faulkner, that a visitor to the day care center they run might get them confused.

They are both friendly white women from modest Midwestern backgrounds who left for college with conventional hopes of marriage, motherhood and career. They both have children in elementary school. They pass their days in similar ways: juggling toddlers, coaching teachers and swapping small secrets that mark them as friends. They even got tattoos together. Though Ms. Faulkner, as the boss, earns more money, the difference is a gap, not a chasm.

Read more about Two classes in America divided by 'I do' on www.nytimes.com.

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