Education and Income, Not Race

Ivory A. Toldson:

Lower marriage rates among black women have less to do with the character of black men, and more to do with specific social characteristics that are associated with lower marriage rates among all men and women, but are more common among black people. A black woman with a postsecondary degree is more likely to be married than a white woman who dropped out of high school. A black woman with a personal annual income of more than $75,000 is more than twice as likely to be married as white women who live in poverty. White women living in New York and Los Angeles have much lower marriage rates than most black women who live in small towns.
Black and white women who are younger than 40 have higher college graduation rates, lower incarceration rates and lower mortality rates when compared to their male counterparts. However, black men on average have higher incomes than black women, and there are hundreds of thousands more black men earning $75,000 a year or more than black women. Eighty-eight percent of all married black men are married to black women, a figure that changes less than five percentage points with more education and income.