The family patterns
for Black Americans and White Americans are very different. Formed by a
majority trend, the marriage desirability, rates, and expectation change
dramatically across these racialized groups, and are greatly solidified by the
fact that Black and White Americans have the lowest interracial marriage rates
in the country. However, the marriage statistics, cohabitation rates, and
number of single mothers of White Americans is almost doubled for Black
Americans.

As women have
entered the workforce, the need for
marriage has decreased. Instead a partner’s desirability has become the most
prominent factor. For White Americans, this is clearly illustrated in the
“marriage gap.” Most notably by the fact that not only do higher educated and
higher earning women marry later, they also tend to have less children. For
Black Americans, lower education statistics and less promising job
opportunities, have left behind a trend of low marriage rates and very high
cohabitation. Since it has been determined
that one of the main features of being in a marriageable state is economic
stability, without a stable income or family structure, it is likely that a
couple will postpone or avoid marriage. Because a large number of
African-American women are in the work force and will continue to be so despite
their marital status or child bearing, there is little enticement to do
otherwise. Additionally, the statistics of African-American couples staying
together is influenced by a very high divorce rate among African Americans,
which is higher than the national average.

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Where a White
American household is usually formed by a marriage. For Black Americans, a
household is formed first by the birth of a child, rather than by a marriage.

Statistically speaking, less than half of African-American households are
headed by a married coupleWhile there is a strong family commitment in
African-American families, according to the U.S. Bureau of Census, 41 percent of African-American men over the age of
eighteen had never been married and 37 percent of African-American women over
the age of eighteen had never married. This has been attributed to, in some
respects, the shortage of marriageable African-American males as well as
economic and social influences. Unfortunately, a large number of
African-American males are unemployed (or underemployed) and are therefore
incapable of, or undesirable for, marriage by African-American females.

Additionally, since the beginning of the 20th century, the rates of
unmarried black men in the U.S. has closely aligned with the rising
incarceration rates.

                  Single-parenthood in the U.S. is also vastly
different across racialized groups. Interestingly, 72% of Black American
children are born out of wedlock and 62% of theses children are raised by a
single mother. Conversely, the number of single mother homes is only 29% for
White Americans. Yet, over two thirds of Black women who are single mothers
came from households that functioned below the national average income, where
as only 9% of White single-mothers were in the same situation. As seen in the
racial stratification that exists as a border between Black and White Americans
it is likely that a person will spend their lives remaining in whatever class
they were born into. As previously mentioned, economic factors greatly affect
social statistics. Those with more resources (typically White Americans) are
better to provide themselves with not only suitable employment, but also
childcare. They are less likely to rely on government assistance. Conversely,
working class African-American mothers with minimum wage jobs are forced to
spend most of their time, energy, and money on sustaining themselves and their
children. Working class, single mothers who live with their children face lower
marriage prospects and typically spend the majority of their lives as
caregivers of their children and grandchildren.

 

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