Posted on September 2, 2011

Why Black Women Are Justifiably Bitter: The Bleak Relationship Picture for African-American Females

Ralph Richard Banks, NY Daily News, September 2, 2011


Black women are the most unpartnered group of people in our nation, a dubious distinction reflected in their low rate of marriage. More than 2 out of every 3 black women are unmarried, and most unmarried black women do not have a committed partner. It’s not only economically disadvantaged black women who find themselves alone. College educated black women are twice as likely as their white counterparts to be unmarried.

This low marriage rate translates into a high rate of single-parent black families. Roughly 7 in 10 black children are born to unmarried parents. Although many of these unmarried parents are in a relationship, or even living together, at the time of their child’s birth, most of these relationships dissolve within a year or two.


Black women can also become dispirited because they confront a relationship market with too few black men who are stable and employed. Unprecedented numbers of black men spend some portion of their young adulthood incarcerated. More than 1 in 10 black men in their 20s or early 30s is behind bars; a black man’s lifetime likelihood of losing his freedom is 1 in 4. {snip}

The paucity of desirable black men is most glaring on college campuses. Nearly twice as many black women as black men earn college degrees. Twice as many. Even those black men who might seem to be the most appealing marriage candidates–affluent college graduates–are less likely to marry than are their white counterparts. And when they do marry, they often marry women who are not black.

As a result, highly educated black women who marry wind up more likely than any other group of women to marry a man who is less educated than they are–or who earns less money than they do. {snip}

And if all this weren’t enough to leave black women on the wrong side of happy, unmarried black women have to contend with black men who, according to social science data, are more likely than any other group of men to maintain relationships with multiple women.