Item from the Smart Marriages Archive, reproduced in the Divorce Statistics Collection

Black couples stay the course

By Karen S. Peterson, USA TODAY March 7, 2000


Marital therapist and radio talk-show host Audrey Chapman worries about
tomorrow. "African-Americans are the most unpartnered group in America.
Census figures show that 35% of Americans between 24 and 34 have never
married. For African-Americans, that figure is 54%."

Census Bureau statistics show that in 1998, 11.7% of blacks age 18 and
over were divorced, compared with 9.8% for the general population.

But there is better news. Although many experts say the black divorce
rate outpaces that of whites, the General Social Survey (GSS) finds the
two groups are quite close. About 36% of blacks have divorced, compared
with 34% of whites, says Tom White with the GSS, funded by the National
Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

Chapman believes "the sexual revolution of the last two decades has
wreaked havoc on black relationships." Young black women are now spending
years getting an education and building a career. When they turn to
thoughts of settling down, they find a small pool of marriageable black

"Because available women so far outnumber them, many black men often say
they see no reason to make long-term commitments," Chapman says. "They
feel it's safer to 'couple for the moment' and move on."


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