Posted on December 27, 2011

A Shortage of Eligible Black Men

Ralph Richard Banks, New York Times, December 20, 2011

More than 1 in 10 black men in their 20s or early 30s are currently incarcerated, and some experts estimate that as many as 1 in 4 black men will spend some time behind bars.

Only half of black boys graduate high school.


Black men’s difficulties arise partly for reasons beyond their control–failing schools, a changing labor market, mass incarceration–but they nonetheless leave black men less able to fulfill the role of husband.

The harsh truth is that as black women have moved ahead, black men have fallen behind. Each year, nearly twice as many black women as men graduate college. Black women have surpassed their male counterparts even in lucrative and typically male-dominated fields like computer science. Twice as many black women as men go to graduate school, and in law and medicine, the gender gap is approaching 2 to 1 as well.


Compounding the numbers problem is that black men marry interracially more than twice as frequently as do black women. More than 1 in 5 black men now marry a non-black spouse (compared to fewer than 1 in 10 black women who do so).