Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Saving Black Marriages

Soledad O’Brien is doing an investigative series on CNN this month looking into what African-Americans are doing to confront the most challenging issues facing their communities. She is highlighting people who have found innovative solutions to transform their world. A recent article asks the question; Saving black marriages: Does it take a village?

Marriage as an institution has been particularly challenging in the African American Community as witnessed by these statistics from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Website.
Statistics on Marriage, Divorce, and Living Arrangements
On the whole, Blacks or African Americans (hereafter called Blacks) have lower rates of marriage and marital stability than all other ethnic groups. They also have higher rates of single-headed families than other groups.
· Black males and females are more likely to be unmarried than Whites, Hispanics, or American Indian/Alaskan Natives (AIAN) (42.2% for males, 40.8% for females, compared to 27.5% and 21.2% respectively for Whites, 38.2% and 30.3% for Hispanics, and 35.7% and 29.9% for AIAN ).(ACS 2002)
· Black individuals are far more likely than Whites and Hispanics to be divorced (in 2002, 9.4% of Black males were divorced, and 13.3% of Black females versus 9.1 % and 11.3% respectively for Whites and 5.9% and 9.3% for Hispanics). (ACS 2002)
· Among married Black individuals, a greater percentage is living apart from their spouses than among married White and AIAN individuals (15.7% for Black males, 24.1% for Black females, versus 5.3% and 6.3% respectively for Whites and 11.1% and 12.8% for AIAN). Only Hispanics have a higher rate of living apart from their spouse than do Blacks – 16.2% for males and 16.9% for females (in many cases this may be due to immigration complications). (ACS 2002)
· Black families are less likely to contain a married couple than all other groups (46.0% versus 81.0%). White families have an 81% chance of containing a married couple, AIAN families have a 67% chance, and Hispanics have a 67.4% chance. (Census 2000)
· Single male-headed families are slightly more likely in Black homes than in White family homes (about 8.5% versus 5.3% for whites.). Hispanics and AIANs have a higher rate of single male headed families (10.3% and 10.4% respectively). (Census 2000)
· Single female-headed families are far more likely in Black homes than in all other groups' homes (45.4% versus 13.7%). By contrast, Whites have a 13.7% rate, AIANs have a 28.8% rate, and Hispanics have a 22.3% rate of single female headed families. (Census 2000)
· Only 44.9% of Black householders in family households live with a spouse. This compares with 80.6% for Whites, 60.1% for AIAN, and 70.2% for Hispanics. (Census 2000)

The CNN story examines a couple who appears to have it all, married for 13 years and successful with children. Even though they have it all on paper, this couple’s marriage was in turmoil. Another part of the question is; does a strong marriage equal a strong family? This couple decided to seek help in the form of skills based training for couples. Translation: marriage education!

The article also talks about many influences that have shaped, affected or strained black marriages in particular.

The comments left by people who have read the article are also interesting.

Read and let us know your thoughts.


M. Denise Wilmer Barreto said...

Wow! That is amazing and YES I do think it takes a village so to speak.

Let's face it, in our country it is an "amazing" story to overcome obstacles to accomplish something big. Marriage for minorities appears to be one of those "somethings". We (minorities) as a group do not have sonsistent strong role models in this area and the statistics back it up.

I am a firm believer that we can learn from anyone but it is so much more meaningful if it is someone "like me." Hence the importance of black teachers in schools - black doctors -etc, etc.

Until we have strong strong advocates in the black and hispanic community for marriages and marriage education - we will continue as we are today. President and Mrs. Obama appear to be a great start for this new revolution.

I love the Black In America series on CNN - it highlights things we live everyday to the rest of the country.

Thanks for pointing that out.

thinkmarriage.org said...

Thank you for being an advocate by faithfully blogging!