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Married or Not, Black Women Are Having Fewer Kids

Ta-Nehisi Coates wrote an illuminating post for The Atlantic shedding light on some hard numbers that reveal the stereotype of black women, unmarried, pumping out babies as fast as they can print welfare checks is mere myth.

Crunching the numbers, Coates found that black women, both married and unmarried, were having fewer children in years past and that the birth rate among black women is actually lower than that of white women right now. Coates also writes how too many people attacking the black out-of-wedlock birth rate are conflating "not marrying" with amorality, when that simply isn't the case. And considering the reality of the state of black men, Coates feels its pretty logical that some black women would chose to not get married -- kid or no kid. Have you looked at the black male incarceration and unemployment rates lately? People can't afford to get married, let alone have kids.

Here's a snippet:

I point this out to show that the idea that the idea that, somehow, the black community has fallen into a morass of cultural pathology is convenient nostalgia. There is nothing "immoral" or "pathological" about deciding not to marry. In the glorious black past, women who made that decision were more--not less--likely to become mothers. People who are truly concerned about the percentage of out of wedlock births would do well to hector married black women for moral duty to churn out babies in the manner of their glorious foremothers. But no one would do that. Because it would be absurd.

Theories of cultural decline are irrelevant. Policy not so much. Given the contact rates between the justice system and young black men, and given how that contact affects your employment prospects, the decision by many black women to not marry, and to have less children, strikes me as logical. If we want to change marriage rates, we need to change our policies. Nostalgia is magic. Policy is the hero.

You can read the full post here at The Atlantic.

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Reader Comments (4)

The problem isn't necessarily the number of kids. It's that they ushering the children they are having--black boys in particular-- right into the justice system. They are creating the problem they have to contend with. Where is all this logic before they have the kids? it would strike me as logical to choose a man who would be there for their children and provide for them. And how would a woman choose wisely when it comes to men? By carefully vetting potential suitors. This means taking your time to get to know him before having a baby by him. And yes, I put the burden primarily on women here because they have the FINAL SAY when it comes to producing children (your body, your choice, correct?)

June 24, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterblack yoda

DId you even read the article?

June 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSt. Hubbins

Nope. The article was not read. Simply another comment jumping on the "pathologize black women and place all blame and all responsibility for saving the black community in their laps" train, popularized but not begun by Reagan and his administration for scapegoating and fearmongering purposes, and suddenly embraced to the bosom of the African American community for god-knows-why purposes.

June 29, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMac

We don't need to depend on the Government to improve the state of our family union. Cultural, moral and economic decline are eminent when the family unit is endangered. Marriage is honorable, being single is honorable - but people should not seek (emphasis on 'seek') to birth children into the world into a single-parent home. There are so many black children around the world who need black homes; why are Sandra Bullock, Madonna and Angelina Jolie adopting all of our African and black children and we are sitting around doing nothing about complain about them.

Why isn't there a movement for black on black adoption, instead of having babies out of wedlock?

People can afford to get married and not all black men are in jail. But let's reverse engineer the issue: How did these black men get in jail in the first place?

I know...absence of FATHERS in a stable home environment. Point blank period. So why are we encouraging a repeat of the actions that got us here in the 1st place?? That's called insanity.

September 19, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterT. Blakemore
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