About 42% of black American women have never been married. Never. For white women the number is 22%.
For every 100 black women:
- 35 are now married to a black man
- 1 is now married outside the race
- 22 were once married
- 42 were never married
So what is going on with those 42 black men? Where are they? What are they doing? I ran some numbers, mainly using Census numbers for 2004. Here is what I found, listed in order from the least important to the most important (going by the numbers):
- 1 is gay. He will never marry because he only goes with men.
- 2 are married outside the race. Black men marry outside the race at a rate far higher than other men marry into it. This leaves over 200,000 black women without husbands.
- 4 are in prison. Another 10 will be in prison at some point in their lives. Over a half million single black men are in prison. Black men are seven times more likely to be put in prison than white men. But that is another story.
- 4 lack enough education. Unlike with whites, among blacks more women have degrees than do men. That means over a half million black women will be forced to marry down – or out of the race altogether. Either that or never get married. Which is the most likely outcome: few men want to marry a woman with more education and few men of other races are willing to marry a black woman. Among married white men, for example, only 1 in 400 has a black wife. For Asian men it is 1 in 450.
- 13 are too young or not otherwise ready for marriage. The numbers I am using from the Census count anyone 15 years of age or older. So some of these are too young to marry. But others would have married – in the old days, that is, when sex was a big reason for men to get married. These days there is so much sex outside of marriage that that reason is dead and gone. That means many men are no longer in a big rush to get married – if ever.
- 18 are dead. People forget this, but there is a huge oversupply of black women. Huge. Even if every single living black man married a black woman, 18% of black women would still not be married! Throw in interracial marriages and that still leaves 17% of black women without a husband. This is by far the biggest reason for that 42%.
You can throw in 10 divorced and widowed men into the mix. That might sound good, but then along with them come the 22 women who were once married, making matters worse not better. It will be hard for them to remarry, but some will.
White women are affected by the same sort of things, but in each case the numbers are not so bad. Instead of 18 dead, for example, there are only 6. Instead of 4 in prison, only 1 is. And so on. It all adds up making it much worse for blacks than for whites.