Who Isn’t Getting Married?

Mother and young son reading book

I read an article in the Philadelphia Inquirer about a new book that’s out called, “Is Marriage for White People?” Apparently black women, according to this research, are the most un-partnered group in our society. Why?

His answers are interesting, and make me think that perhaps black women are emerging as the lead in the “strong women” category. According to this research, more than 70% of black children are born to unwed parents. This alone might cause one to think poorly of this group, or that it is simply because more single black women are getting pregnant. Not so. His research shows that the reason for this is not more unplanned pregnancies, but the fact that more black women are preferring to remain single than white women.

Unwed childbearing is a consequence of the marriage decline, regardless, but the research indicates that most other races – and even black men – are more likely to marry outside their race, while black women are still encouraged to marry within. Maybe it is social pressure… or perhaps they are just one of the last groups of people trying to hold onto what they were taught and how they believe. If the men of their own race aren’t living up to those same standards, and ‘marrying out’ is not a desirable option, why not just stay single?

The book indicates that higher incarceration rates, and the fact that more black men are marrying inter-racially, contribute to this dynamic. Additional statistics indicate that more black women are becoming college graduates than black men, and that more highly educated women are more likely to marry. So, with that said, who can blame the current trend? With these figures, the “eligible black men” pool gets smaller and smaller for these women.

So why not just carry on with their education, refuse to “marry down”, and raise their children on their own?


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