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African American Family Facts

African American Family Facts  Facts about the African American Family

African Americans make up 12.9 percent of the population (36.4 million).US Census 2003

In the US those 15 and over:
  • 34 % are currently married
  • 5% are separated
  • 11% are divorced
  • 7% are widowed
  • 43% have never married
US Census 2003

African American Households:
  • 48% married couple headed
  • 52% $50,000 or more household income
  • 79% High School education or more
US Census 2003

In Hamilton County:
  • 39% are married
  • 18% are single / never married
  • 14% are now divorce or separated
  • 27% have been divorced
  • 38% have cohabited
Hamilton County Marriage Report / Harris Interactive 2005

African Americans are the most un-partnered group in America. Census figures show that 43 percent of African Americans have never married compared to 25 percent of whites who have never married. About four out of every 10 African American men and women had never been married, the highest proportion of any racial category. 
US Census 2003

Compared to 94 percent of whites, only 80 percent of African Americans in Hamilton County say that they expect to be married for life. Hamilton County Marriage Report / Harris Interactive 2005

Nineteen percent of African Americans in Hamilton County believe that marriage is “outmoded” compared to 9 percent of whites who feel the same way.  Hamilton County Marriage Report / Harris Interactive 2005

Nearly one-half (48%) of all African American families were married couple families. Forty-three percent of all African American Families were maintained by women with no spouse present. US Census 2003

A larger proportion of African American married-couple families (8%) than white families (3%) were poor. Poverty was highest in families maintained by women with no spouse present, 35 percent for African American families compared to 19 percent for white families. US Census 2003

Among women, African Americans and Hispanics had the highest percentage of separated 6 percent and 5 percent respectively. Research has show that African American and Hispanic women are more likely to remain separated without getting a legal divorce than are women of other groups. US Census 2003

A comparatively high percentage of African American grandparents were living in the same household as their grandchildren (8%) compared to whites (2%). More than half of the African American grandparents report that they are responsible for the basic needs of their grandchildren. US Census 2003

“Today the number of children born into a black marriage averages less than 0.9 children per marriage.  The birthrates of black married women have fallen so sharply that absent out-of-wedlock childbearing, the African American population would not only fail to reproduce itself, but would rapidly die off.” Maggie Gallagher, The Abolition of Marriage

Cohabitation in America - especially cohabitation as an alternative to marriages – is more common among Blacks, Puerto Ricans, and disadvantaged white women.  One reason for this is that male income and employment are lower among minorities and the lower classes, and male economic status remains an important determinant as to whether or not a man feels ready to marry and a woman wants to marry him. David Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead, “Should We Live Together?” 

Seventy-five percent of all black children born in the last two decades are likely to live for some portion of their childhood with only their mothers.Bumpass, L.L. and J.A. Sweet,  “Children Experience in Single-Parent Families: Implications of Cohabitation and Marital Transitions.”

“Today only one-third of black children have two parents in the home.”Dennis A. Ahlburg and Carol J. DeVita, “New Realities of the American Family”

A longitudinal study of the effects of divorce among African-Americans found that women suffered an economic loss of 25 percent and men suffered a 7 percent economic loss. Pollock, Gene E. and Atlee L. Stroup,  “Economic Consequences of Marital Dissolution for Blacks

Black children are only half as likely as white children to be living in a two-parent household and are eight times more likely than white children to live with an unwed mother.  For black children under six, the most common arrangement applying to 42 percent of them was to live with a never married mother. Maggie Gallagher, The Abolition of Marriage

In Hamilton County in 2002, 73 percent of births to African American women were out of wedlock compared to 26.5 percent of unmarried white women. Tennessee Department of Health