The family patternsfor Black Americans and White Americans are very different. Formed by amajority trend, the marriage desirability, rates, and expectation changedramatically across these racialized groups, and are greatly solidified by thefact that Black and White Americans have the lowest interracial marriage ratesin the country. However, the marriage statistics, cohabitation rates, andnumber of single mothers of White Americans is almost doubled for BlackAmericans. As women haveentered the workforce, the need formarriage has decreased. Instead a partner’s desirability has become the mostprominent factor. For White Americans, this is clearly illustrated in the”marriage gap.” Most notably by the fact that not only do higher educated andhigher earning women marry later, they also tend to have less children.
ForBlack Americans, lower education statistics and less promising jobopportunities, have left behind a trend of low marriage rates and very highcohabitation. Since it has been determinedthat one of the main features of being in a marriageable state is economicstability, without a stable income or family structure, it is likely that acouple will postpone or avoid marriage. Because a large number ofAfrican-American women are in the work force and will continue to be so despitetheir marital status or child bearing, there is little enticement to dootherwise. Additionally, the statistics of African-American couples stayingtogether is influenced by a very high divorce rate among African Americans,which is higher than the national average.
Where a WhiteAmerican household is usually formed by a marriage. For Black Americans, ahousehold is formed first by the birth of a child, rather than by a marriage.Statistically speaking, less than half of African-American households areheaded by a married coupleWhile there is a strong family commitment inAfrican-American families, according to the U.S. Bureau of Census, 41 percent of African-American men over the age ofeighteen had never been married and 37 percent of African-American women overthe age of eighteen had never married. This has been attributed to, in somerespects, the shortage of marriageable African-American males as well aseconomic and social influences.
Unfortunately, a large number ofAfrican-American males are unemployed (or underemployed) and are thereforeincapable of, or undesirable for, marriage by African-American females.Additionally, since the beginning of the 20th century, the rates ofunmarried black men in the U.S. has closely aligned with the risingincarceration rates. Single-parenthood in the U.
S. is also vastlydifferent across racialized groups. Interestingly, 72% of Black Americanchildren are born out of wedlock and 62% of theses children are raised by asingle mother. Conversely, the number of single mother homes is only 29% forWhite Americans. Yet, over two thirds of Black women who are single motherscame from households that functioned below the national average income, whereas only 9% of White single-mothers were in the same situation.
As seen in theracial stratification that exists as a border between Black and White Americansit is likely that a person will spend their lives remaining in whatever classthey were born into. As previously mentioned, economic factors greatly affectsocial statistics. Those with more resources (typically White Americans) arebetter to provide themselves with not only suitable employment, but alsochildcare. They are less likely to rely on government assistance. Conversely,working class African-American mothers with minimum wage jobs are forced tospend most of their time, energy, and money on sustaining themselves and theirchildren. Working class, single mothers who live with their children face lowermarriage prospects and typically spend the majority of their lives ascaregivers of their children and grandchildren.