Across all ethnic groups, the rates of marriage are in a constant decline over the past decade, and with those tying the knot doing it much later in life. A comparison between more educate whites, black people with less than a high school diploma have been marrying less and much later in life.
This phenomenon can be credited to marital stratification by race and the level of education revealing that, factors such as the ability to accumulate wealth- such as having money in the bank, owning a house, a car or an income stream is a major determinant factor for first marriages.
In other words, possession of greater personal assets is likely to lead to people marrying earlier in life. Despite the fact that most young black people consistently report their desire to wed, they are also disadvantaged socially and a less able to accumulate wealth and thus less likely to marry, it is accurate to state the social structure and the economic system is rigged at the most basic level against them being able to acquire a regular stream of comfortable income to accumulate consistent wealth, that will automatically lead to leading a healthy family life.
Not to mention the legal justice and law enforcement system making it harder for young black men to have higher career aspirations just because of the criminal records that are handed down to them even before graduating high schools. Most people who are not from these communities and don’t have to deal with police brutality and constant racial profiling cannot begin to comprehend the gravity of young black men having a felony charge or a criminal record before even attaining legal drinking age. It means that you can’t get a regular job and even in some cases you are barred from serving the military.
This is a key issue that disheartens most black men propelling them to other illegal activities as a passport to a better life; this often comes with a price tag of long imprisonment, the literal ‘trap’. The consequences of these combined factors are felt first at the family level, where marriage or hope for one becomes a non-priority. So it shouldn’t be confused when a comparison is made, black people marrying less is less of a choice, but a situational factor that is autonomously generated by an environment plagued with racial rooted challenges that are meant to work against building a healthy black community.
Why does material wealth matter for black marriage?
Increasingly all races are marrying later, and to some pointless, but the visible dividend is emerging between blacks and whites, and the more and less educated.
Younger black people are becoming more aware and express the importance of accumulating sizable wealth before taking a vow, to understand this puzzle of stratification you have to take a different perspective, black people not faring well in marriage, recurs in the category of the same black people not faring very well in education, and not only college education but also the vital knowledge of finance and economy which white people have abundant access to, a good example is young people in southside Chicago where it’s easier to acquire a gun than a computer, which explains the ongoing genocide among the black youth while simultaneously their white peers are excelling in new financial ventures such as e-commerce, affiliate marketing, and technology.
Though in the same geographical zip codes black and white youth have very contrasting perspectives and aspirations in life which trickle down to marriage and family life.
Because of this deeply entrenched inequality in wealth by race and education, the differentiations in marriage behaviours is also visible, the key point is to account for the importance of wealth and for the first marriage to explain a pretty large portion of these gaps that have surfaced in marriage by race and education.
Why wealth accumulation is so important for black marriages.
The social standard for marriage has changed in a way to make wealth important.
It’s no longer enough to get married and then try to figure it out together, you have to prove that you have economically arrived before marriage; assets and all.
Economical insecurity is another reason wealth matters before marriage. In modern society, people feel the need to have accumulated these assets which one can fall back on when times get tough or when jobs are lost.
Saved wealth can protect a relationship from falling apart!
We are aware that economic hard times are major stressors on relationship quality. Due to this people want assets and wealth in a way they didn’t before because they anticipate these hard times and are looking to have a buffer in place.
Why is stratification happening by race and education?
For most black communities there has been a less intergenerational transference of wealth overtime for a prolonged period compared to whites. For instance, for whites, many count on their families for a first down payment on a home. A home is a key for whites to accumulate wealth, but many blacks can’t rely on their families for that. So in this way, there is a lack of assets compounding across generations.
Why does it matter that people aren’t getting married?
1.) There are many consequences that follow lack of marriage.
2.) The stratification change in marriage by both race and education has implications for deep inequality.
For example in the U.S marriages tend to be shorter and less cohabited than in Europe.
Long term cohabited marriages tend to provide positive benefits for the family members individually compared to the short term ones.
The already disadvantaged ethnic groups blocked from marrying due to lack of wealth and resources still express the strong desire to marry.
Why does it matter that people are getting married later in life?
According to recent research, late marriage somewhat is not a bad thing at all, what raises concerns is when we see higher rates of non-marriage coupled with childbirth. Have consequences for inequality because marriages seem to have these benefits for married couples and their children. If we do see fewer marriages among these disadvantaged groups, that could further disadvantage them and cement inequality.
People’s aspirations normally gravitate towards marriage, but it seems that they’re blocked from that by these structural constrains on wealth.
So what can be done to help disadvantaged black folks get married?
Due to this deep black wealth inequality in our society and really stalk numbers to which many black people are unable to accumulate assets my suggestions is that even helping people have a small buffer of money in the bank, or own a car, which is much more modest asset, may importantly implicate the course of life for those people, like some policy-driven implication that make a case for asset building for the less fortunate. Given that research has shown that financially instability in black marriages often leads to divorce, it’s a good thing that people are looking to achieve financial independence and stability before getting married.