graphVia NyTimes
The number of black children being raised by two parents appears to be edging higher than at any time in a generation, at nearly 40 percent, according to newly released census data.

Demographers said such a trend might be partly attributable to the growing proportion of immigrants in the nation’s black population. It may have been driven, too, by the values of an emerging black middle class, a trend that could be jeopardized by the current economic meltdown.

The Census Bureau attributed an indeterminate amount of the increase to revised definitions adopted in 2007, which identify as parents any man and woman living together, whether or not they are married or the child’s biological parents.

According to the bureau’s estimates, the number of black children living with two parents was 59 percent in 1970, falling to 42 percent in 1980, 38 percent in 1990 and 35 percent in 2004. In 2007, the latest year for which data is available, it was 40 percent.

For non-Hispanic whites, the figure in 2007 was 77 percent, down from 90 percent in 1970.
While expressing skepticism about an increase so large in such a short time in the number of black children living with two parents, a number of experts said the shift was potentially significant.

“It’s a positive change,” said Prof. Robert J. Sampson, the chairman of Harvard’s sociology department. “It’s been hidden.”

The 2007 figure, itself, was more or less hidden among the nearly 1,400 tables in the 2009 Statistical Abstract of the United States, a portrait-by-numbers of the nation released Tuesday by the Census Bureau.

Andrew J. Cherlin, a sociology professor at Johns Hopkins University, said that before 2007, a child living with two unmarried parents was usually classified as living with either a mother or a father, depending on who was the head of the household.

“The unmarried parent was invisible,” Professor Cherlin said. Given a new category, “living with both parents, not married to each other,” he added, “I think the news is that the Census Bureau estimates that about 3 percent of American children are living with two unmarried parents. Because of the increases in living-together relationships, this is probably a higher figure than a generation ago.”

Other experts generally embraced the direction of the statistics, if not the dimension of the changes they suggest.

“What we might be seeing is more cohabitation,” said Kay S. Hymowitz, a scholar at the Manhattan Institute, a research group.

Douglas S. Massey, a sociology professor at Princeton, cautioned that “a bad economy does not make for stable marriages, so it is possible that we may see a reversal in 2008.”

~ by blackcelebritykids on December 17, 2008.


  1. Wonderful!

  2. Twenty percent of black babies born into single parent households in 1970 vs. 70 PERCENT in present-day .This has been terrible for families/ communities.
    Glad to see we’re turning it around.

  3. Well hallelujah! That’s some great news.

  4. WOW! first a black president and now this! This is wonderful!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: