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Black Love, African American Love

A Black Love Blog that explores every dimension of African American relationships

black love and marriage

By Ivory A. Toldson, Ph.D., and Bryant Marks, Ph.D.

When analyzing the black women who are 35 and older, the percent who have never been married drops to 25 percent, indicating that a solid majority of black women get married before they turn 35.

Do educated black women have a slim chance of getting married due to adearth of equally successful black men?  We often hear this opinion debatedin the black community, especially in urban centers with large populationsof young black professionals such as Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC.  Many successful black women are pessimistic about their chances of finding love, and believe they need to compromise their preferences or virtues in order to find a mate. Contrarily, many successful black men arenoncommittal in courtship because they believe they are a "rarecommodity." Other black men may deal with residual doubts about their competence and worth, amid the prevailing notion that they are failing tocontribute to the black family, the black community or society.

Meanwhile, entrepreneurial elements of America have found a variety ofcreative ways to benefit financially from black females’ anxieties at the expense of black males’ egos.  Preachers, entertainers turned relationshipexperts, filmmakers and news documentaries have manipulated statistics to stoke the fear necessary to selltheir preferred cut-rate brand of catharsis or solace.

In this article, we examine the question, "Are there enough successful black men for the black women who want them?" For all of our analyses we used the Integrated Public Use Microdata Series (IPUMS)[Endnote], which consists of sixty-six high-precision samples of the American population drawn from fifteen federal censuses, and the American Community Surveys (ACS) of 2000-2009.  This file concatenates sixty-one of the IPUMS USA samples into a single data set that allows 160 years of micro-level census data to be accessed with single queries using PDQ-Explore.  For most analyses, we only used the most recent year of data, 2009.

Are media portrayals of the black relationship dilemma accurate?


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