Divorce Statistics: Effects on Black Community


Part of the Divorce Statistics Collection, from Americans for Divorce Reform
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(For rates, see Divorce Statistics for African Americans)

NOTE: Newer information on the same topics is available on The Divorce Statistics and Studies Blog. But a lot of important, pre-2008 information is collected only on this site, the Divorce Statistics Collection. So you should check both this site and the blog.

Links:

Having No Dad Affects Fatherless Black Boys' Self-Esteem
Domestic assault levels correlated with urban "community disinvestment", nonmarriage/divorce

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"The Consequences of Marriage for African Americans: A Comprehensive Literature Review"
by: Lorraine Blackman, et al
Press Release: October 24, 2005
"A newly released study by a team of family scholars estimates that marriage typically brings a host of important benefits to African American men, women, and children. On average, married African Americans are wealthier, happier, and choose healthier behaviors than their unmarried peers, and their children typically fare better in life-differences that indeed seem to stem largely from marriage itself. At the same time, however, African American women tend to benefit from marriage less than Whites and men. These are among the key findings presented in The Consequences of Marriage for African Americans, a first-of-its-kind report based on reviews of 125 social science articles and a new statistical analysis of national survey data. The study was conducted under the auspices of the Institute for American Values, a nonpartisan think-tank based in New York City...."
Please visit http://www.americanvalues.org/html/consequences.htm to order a copy of the report.

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."
The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher p. 120, citing Reynolds Forley, "After the Starting Line: Blacks and Women in an Uphill Pace," Demography 25, no. 4 (November 1988): 487, Figure 6.

During the days of slavery a black child was more likely to grow up living with both parents than he or she is today.
Andrew J. Cherlin, Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage, rev. and enl. ed., (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992), 110 . See also Herbert G. Gutman, The Black Family in Slavery and Freedom, 1750-1925 (New York: Pantheon, 1976). For a review of this and similar studies see Stanley L. Engerman, "Black Fertility and Family Structure in the U.S. 1880-1940," Journal of Family History 2 (Summer 1977): 177ff. Cited in The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher page 117

As recently as 1960, three-quarters of African Americans were born into a family of a married couple.
Christopher Jencks, "Is the American Underclass Growing," 86, Table 14. In Jencks and Peterson, eds., Urban Underclass, (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1991). Cited in The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher page 117

"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," Population Bulletin 47, no.2 (August 1992) 8. Cited in The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher page 117

"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.'"
The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher p. 117, citing Andrew J. Cherlin, Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage, rev. and enl. ed., (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992), 98-99.

An African American women averages less than one child during marriage.
The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher p. 120, citing Jencks, "American Underclass," 86. In Jencks and Peterson, eds., Urban Underclass, (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1991).

"Only 18 percent of black women who married in the 1940s eventually divorced, a rate only slightly higher than that for white women of that era. But, of that far smaller number of black women who married in the late sixties and early seventies, 60 percent have already divorced."
The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher page 117, Dennis A. Ahlburg and Carol J. DeVita, "New Realities of the American Family," Population Bulletin 47, no.2 (August 1992): 15.

"In 1960, 23 percent of black children were born to unwed mothers. Today the proportion is nearly the same for whites, and the rate is rising rapidly."
Jencks, "American Underclass," Table 14, 86. In Jencks and Peterson, eds., Urban Underclass, (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1991). Cited in The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher page 126

"In 1960, only 60 percent of black women ages twenty-five to twenty-nine were married. In 1990, only 62 percent of white women in this age group were married. Today the average white woman will spend only 43 percent of her life married, very close to the 40 percent a black woman spent in marriage in 1950."
Robert D. More and Christopher Winship, "Socioeconomic Change and the Decline of Marriage for Blacks and Whites," 175. In Jencks and Peterson, eds., Urban Underclass, (Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution, 1991). page 120
Andrew J. Cherlin, Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage, rev. and enl. ed., (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1992), 95. Cited in The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher page 120

"'Exposure to single motherhood at some point during adolescence increases the risk [of a daughter's later becoming a single mother] by nearly [150 percent] for whites and.....by about 100 percent for blacks.'"
Sara S. McLanahan, "Family Structure and Dependency: Reality Transitions to Female Household Headship," Demography 25, Feb., 1988, 1-16. Cited in Amneus, The Garbage Generation, page 240


A recent study for the journal Criminology has revealed that "neighborhoods with larger portions of adults who are less 'invested' in marriage and residential stability are more likely to see higher rates of assault by African-American males." Analysis of the data reveals that "the proportion of residents without married couples...maintains the strongest relationship with intimate assault rates for African-Americans..." This leads to the conclusion that "lower levels of marital commitments and stable residents constitute...significant barriers to the development of social capital [an important determinant of healthy community life] among minorities."
Woodredge, J. and Thistlethwaite, A. (2003) Neighborhood structure and race-specific rates of intimate assault. Criminology, v41. Retrieved from The Family in America, April 2004.

Marriage and the Well-Being of African American Boys

Many significant historical and current societal factors have contributed to
lower levels of well-being among African American boys. One factor that is
sometimes overlooked and appears to have an especially important impact is
family structure. This brief summarizes research strongly indicating that
African American boys do best when they live with two parents - especially
their own two married parents.

Together, these briefs support the case that government policies to help
low-income couples and fragile families must include serious proposals to
support marriage. As two policy experts, one Democrat and one Republican,
concluded recently in a piece written for the Brookings Institution: "Both
scholars and politicians now agree that married two-parent families are good
for children, and that poverty would be greatly reduced if marriage could be
increased."

(Ron Haskins and Paul Offner, Achieving Compromise on Welfare
Reform Reauthorization.)

Available for download at:
http://ent.groundspring.org/EmailNow/pub.php?module=URLTracker&cmd=track&j=1
08499340&u=1034270


DIVORCE AND MARRIAGE AFFECT BLACK CHILDREN MORE
May 25, 2005

Divorce and marriage play much bigger economic roles for black children than
white children in the United States, according to a new study by two UC
Davis economists. Marianne Page and Ann Huff Stevens find that in the first two years
following a divorce, family income among white children falls about 30
percent, while it falls by 53 percent among black children.
"This difference increases dramatically in the long run," Page and Stevens write. "Three or more years after the divorce, about a third of the loss in whites' household income is recouped, but the income of black families barely improves."

In fact, three or more years after the divorce, the black families' income
remains 47 percent lower than if the parents had remained together. Marriage appears to have even greater benefits for black children whose single mothers marry than for their white counterparts, according to the study.

Page and Stevens estimate that while the family income of white children rises by 45 percent when their single parent marries, the family income of black children rises by 81 percent with marriage. One reason for the difference in improvement is that married black mothers are more likely to work than married white mothers. On the other hand, when divorce occurs, the probability of black mothers working does not change, while recently divorced white women have an 18 percent greater probability
of working.

The study, published in the February 2005 issue of Demography, followed a
nationally representative, longitudinal survey of Americans conducted by the
University of Michigan's Institute for Social Research.

Contact the researchers at:
o Marianne Page, Economics, (530) 752-1551, mepage@ucdavis.edu
o Ann Huff Stevens, Economics, (530) 752-3034, annstevens@ucdavis.edu
o Susanne Rockwell, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-9841,
sgrockwell@ucdavis.edu
>From the Smart Marriages listserv


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