The spate of articles extoling the plight of helplessly single Black women are endless. From the Nightline special from a few years ago, to Ralph Richard Banks’ recent Wall Street Journal article, everyone still seems to be telling Black women we are doomed.
To push back against the media’s barrage, Empower magazine released an in depth article that took a hard look at the research and found that the dismal forecast painted by the media isn’t really the whole picture.
In the article, “New Research Shatters Myths and Provides New Hope for Black Love and Marriage,” Drs. Ivory Toldson and Bryant Marks break down the data, and show how sometimes, the numbers DO lie.
By examining the Nightline article, which painted an extremely bleak outlook for single Black women, Toldson and Marks found many glaring manipulations of the data.
For example, we examine ABC News, Nightline feature article, “Single, Black, Female — and Plenty of Company.” Taking this statement literally, we should understand that single white women have more “company” than single black women. In the US, 6.2 million black women have never been married, compared to 16.6 million white women. Therefore, a single white female has 10 million more counterparts with whom to enjoy single life than black women.
However, as the article points out, sometimes numbers are deceiving. After all, as they claim, “Forty-two percent of U.S. black women have never been married, double the number of white women who’ve never tied the knot.” True, with our independent analysis of the ACS, we find that 43 percent of black women have never been married compared to 20 percent of white women, who are 18 years and older. However, 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. Granted, the total percent of unmarried black women is still twice more than for white women who are 35 and older.
The article goes on to state, “For starters, there are 1.8 million more black women than black men. So even if every black man in America married a black woman today, one out of 12 black women still wouldn’t make it down the aisle if they hoped to marry a black man.” True, using the most recent data in fact shows 1.9 million more black women than black men. However, the same data show 4.6 million more white women than white men. With this statement, they are exercising arrogant ignorance or deceptive omission to sell the story.
While we should never just accept the information presented by the mainstream media, many Black women (and men) have bought into the hype. Based on their limited dating experiences and the frenzy created by the media, many Black women feel that they are destined to be single and lonely because Black men are either not interested in dating them or there are simply not enough successful Black men to go around.
Toldson and Banks, again, turn to the data to refute this line of thinking. Although Black women with college degrees outnumber Black men with degrees, when you examine income levels, brothas consistently out earn Black women.
Toldson and Banks write:
Black women began to outpace black men in degree production more than a half century ago, starting in the 1960s. However, degree production has not brought about parity in the personal income of black women and black men. Nationwide, although more than 800,000 more black women than black men have at least a bachelor’s degree, almost 200,000 more black men than black women earn more than $75,000 per year. In America,725,922 black men earn more than $75,000 compared to 528,204 black women; 100,000 more black men earn more than $100,000 than black women; and black men are twice as likely to earn more than a quarter million dollars. Therefore, if we define success in terms of education, there will never be enough black men for black women, but if we define success in terms of income, there is still some hope for black love.
Education increases the chances that a black male will earn a higher income but does not completely determine income. Several occupations that do not require a college degree are overrepresented among six figure black men. The top five occupations for black men who make six figures without a college degree are: (1) managers, (2) truck drivers, (3) police officers, (4) construction workers, and (5) bailiffs, correctional officers, and jailers. Interestingly, rounding out the top 10 are janitors and building cleaners; a profession that accounts for 1,431 black men who make six figures. The lesson; working hard at anything can lead to success.
Despite their earning potential, many Black women feel that Black men just don’t want to marry or date them. They look at an increase in interracial dating and marriage as an example of Black men casting Black women aside for “the other,” But this isn’t true either.
The overwhelming majority of black men who are married—EIGHTLY EIGHT percent—are married to Black women. This statistic cuts across all income and education levels as well. So the idea that Black men are deserting Black women in droves is yet another myth.
While the media continues to try to make some Black women feel helpless and desperate about being single, many others know the truth: Black love is alive and thriving, despite what others may think.