America’s top-heavy distribution of income and wealth, the Corse and Silva research details, has left many economically insecure Americans “unable to imagine being able to provide materially and emotionally for others.”
Amid this high-stress reality, adds Atlantic commentator Nancy Cook, marriage “is fast becoming a luxury good.” People who can’t afford the investments that help keep marriages together split and sink from the middle class. The nation becomes a more unequal — and lonelier — place.
For that loneliness, we pay a heavy price.
“Air pollution increases your chances of dying early by 5 percent, obesity by 20 percent,” as Aditya Chakrabortty observedlast fall in the British Guardian. “Excessive loneliness pushes up your odds of an early death by 45 percent.”
Those figures come from University of Chicago neuroscientist John Cacioppo, a veteran researcher on social seclusion. We have, he writes, created “a culture of social isolates, atomized by social and economic upheaval and separated by vast inequalities.”
If we want to find love, in sum, we need to go looking in more equal places.