Mass Incarceration: What Caused The Dramatic Rise In Never Married African-Americans
Why are so many black women single? Could this be due to structural racism? Mass Incarceration? A system that disrupted black families, leaving Black women and children to fend for themselves in an increasingly hostile world.
In general, marriage is on the decline in America. In 2016, 48% of all Americans married as opposed to 29% of African-Americans.
Approximately 1 in 2 of all African-Americans has never married as opposed to 1 in 3 of all Americans.
Black men marry white women at twice the rate that Black women marry White men.
- In 2017, 15% of black men were married to non-black women while only 7% of black women were married to non-black men.
- Of those with non-black spouses, 60% of black men were married to White women while only 4% of black women were married to white men.
Curiously, in 2012 The U.S Census Bureau did a study on the history of marriage and discovered some surprising statistics. From 1890 to 1960s, African-Americans 35 and older were more likely to be married than White Americans. Then in 1980 something changed. The number of married African-Americans declined. The number of never-married African Americans began to climb, jumping from 10% in 1980 to 25% in 2010.
In the 1960-70’s mass incarceration began. The chart below shows how the rise in mass incarceration may be related to the dramatic rise in the number of never-married African-Americans.
Why are so many Black women single? Why was there a dramatic rise in never married African-Americans around the same time mass incarceration started to take hold? The data suggests a link. Mass incarceration maybe playing a crucial role in breaking up African-American families, sentencing many black women to single parenting or single life. This observation needs further investigation to determine if an association exists.
Since a majority of black women will not consider dating a non-black man, what does that mean for the future of African-Americans as mass incarceration becomes the American way of life? Was the war on drugs that led to mass incarceration intended to be a war on African American families?