Tariq Nelson has a post about Education and Marriage, on his blog today. The literature on marital stability and quality has been quite comprehensive in nature and scope, but it has emphasized primarily white marriages. Little research attention has been given to African American marriages and even less to divorce within the African American community. The few studies to date that have examined divorce among African Americans rarely go beyond a mere description of differences between African Americans and White Americans.

I’ve found a source that dedicates a decent amount of research to study the Effects of Marriage and Divorce on Black Communities. They quote various references, but I found the ones in  The Abolition of Marriage, by Maggie Gallagher to be most thought provoking.

Today the number of children born into a black marriage averages less than 0.9 children per marriage. “The birthrates of black married women have fallen so sharply that absent out-of-wedlock childbearing, the African American population would not only fail to reproduce itself, but would rapidly die off.”

During the days of slavery a black child was more likely to grow up living with both parents than he or she is today.

As recently as 1960, three-quarters of African Americans were born into a family of a married couple.

“Today only [one-third] of black children have two parents in the home.”

“Black children are only half as likely as white children to be living in a two-parent household, and are eight times more likely than white children to live with an unwed mother. For black children under six, ‘the most common arrangement — applying to 42 percent of them — was to live with a never-married mother.'”
An African American women averages less than one child during marriage.
“Only 18 percent of black women who married in the 1940s eventually divorced, a rate only slightly higher than that for white women of that era. But, of that far smaller number of black women who married in the late sixties and early seventies, 60 percent have already divorced.”
“In 1960, 23 percent of black children were born to unwed mothers. Today the proportion is nearly the same for whites, and the rate is rising rapidly.”
“In 1960, only 60 percent of black women ages twenty-five to twenty-nine were married. In 1990, only 62 percent of white women in this age group were married. Today the average white woman will spend only 43 percent of her life married, very close to the 40 percent a black woman spent in marriage in 1950.”

Hey, I want to read more from this author, because she has a pretty cool quote on Islam

To suggest that in order to modernize, Muslim societies need to embrace the worst of the trashy commercialism of Western culture is not true

And on that note, I think that we would be shocked and awed if their was a study done on the divorce rates of African American Muslim Converts. I met a 40 year old AA sister in 1998 who was on her 16th marriage and the brother was only 18 years old. That marriage did not last long at all and the last time I spoke to her, which was only about two years after I met her, she was on I think her 20th marriage and that was on the rocks. It’s been about six years since I have had contact with her and I pray that Allah has compensated her with something better than she has had and that He makes both she and her spouse happy and content in their marriage.