For better or for worse, till death do us part, love and marriage, the cornerstone #relationshipgoals for centuries. It has been said that for millennials, marriage is happening less often and later than previous generations. How do those stats stack up when broken down for race?
According to BlackDemographics.com, in 2014 29% of African Americans were married compared to 48% of the general population. A 2010 Psychpage article, discussed how being married can result in living longer, improved mental health & even reduced risk of being a victim of crime. Similarly, In 2014, Forbes published an article focused on the various tax credits and investment incentives that come with being married. Most recently, After Skool published a video on YouTube that explores the history of marriage, its recent decline, and pros and cons. So although the research seems to be pointing to “meet me at the altar in your white dress” I wanted to get some stories from everyday people about their personal experiences.
A few months ago, I put together a short survey for individuals of different racial backgrounds to answer questions pertaining to their relationship status, their desire to be married, and how much (using a 0-5 scale) they felt being married would or already had improved their quality of life.
The participants consisted of 90 individuals all between the ages of 18-36, of the total number of participants 26% reported married, 40% single, 33% dating, and 1% divorced.
Of the individuals that reported married, 39% were people of color and 61% white. A few common reasons the individuals stated they made the decision to marry include: love and the desire to build a life and family with their spouse. When asked how much they felt getting married had improved their quality of life; 94% answered at least 3-5, with nearly half, (43%) reporting 5.
Of the individuals that reported single, 72% were people of color and 22% white. The most common reason these individuals stated they are single was because they haven’t met the right person. Other popular answers include: lack of time and currently focusing on themselves. When asked if they wanted to get married in the future, 83% answered yes, 11% answered unsure, and 6% no. When asked how much they felt getting married would improve their quality of life; 29% answered 2 or less, 39% answered 3, and 31% chose 4-5.
Of the individuals that reported dating, 73% were people of color and 27% white. When asked if they hoped to marry their partners in the future, 87% answered yes and 13% unsure. When asked how much they felt being married would improve their quality of life; 26% answered 2 or less, 57% answered 3-4, and 17% answered 5.
As shown in the results above; in the single and dating categories people of color make up nearly 3/4 of the total number of participants, but for the married category people of color don’t even make up 1/2. Are these differences due to the lack of representation? Are weddings too expensive? Are there other circumstances preventing young people of color from pursuing marriage?
I found it hopeful that although marriage is on a decline, more than 80% of the individuals in the dating and single categories have the desire to get married. Furthermore, more than 60% of both categories believe marriage will significantly improve their quality of life.
Another consideration in this research is the influence of gender differences on individuals’ answers.
In conclusion, is marriage simply an outdated concept? Should lower marriage rates in people of color be included in the equality conversation? What do you think? I would love to hear your thoughts and feelings on this topic in the comments below!
P.S A huge thank you to everyone that participated in the survey, this would not be possible without your help.