From the time I was born until I was 17 years old, nearly everything in my life was propelling me to a life as one of America’s lost boys —the young men who fail to mature, do poorly in school, live on the economic margins, and become absentee fathers or fail to form stable families of their own.
Today, one in six American men between the ages of 25 and 54 are unemployed or out of the workforce altogether: about 10 million men. This number has more than doubled since the 1970s. Meantime, over the past half-century, the number of men behind bars has more than quadrupled.
One obvious metric for success is college graduation —and America’s young men are not standing up. The Wall Street Journal published a viral story in 2021 about how male students are vanishing from campus. Men now make up only 40 percent of college students, a gender gap that has been growing for decades. In the next few years, two women will earn a college degree for every man.
It’s no wonder fewer men are making it to college: boys begin falling behind girls as soon as they start attending school. A 2013 study published in the Journal of Human Resources found that, as early as kindergarten, girls begin earning better grades than boys.