As a dating and relationship coach, one of the top questions I hear from single women is… “where are all the good men at?!?” This is especially so for black women seeking to date and marry black men. Well let me make this real for you my sister…your question is warranted.
How do I know this? That’s because I have spent the last several years studying intimate relationships, mate availability and the progression to marriage amongst African Americans. I will continue to do so until you are able to call me, Dr. Em. You see, right now I am pursuing my doctorate degree and these very issues are at the forefront of my research.
So for that dreary woman who seems to only meet men who are lower than her ideal, or feel that she doesn’t have a fair share of available men to date, let alone marry, I am here to tell you. You aren’t crazy. There are a shortage of “marriageable black men” and here’s why:
- Black men incarceration rates:
Currently, there are 2.2 million people who are incarcerated in the United States. 40% of them are African Americans. Why is this such a large number, it doesn’t seem like the majority. I am glad you asked. Overall, the African American population in the US is only about 17% according to the 2005 US Census data. So statistically if the incarcerated population was representative of the entire population, then you would only have 17% African Americans in jail. So to have 40%, is a huge disproportion in numbers.
Besides, even when released, ex-felons are not as appealing as potential spouses. Statistics have shown that formerly incarcerated men do not fair well economically. And sisters we know that one of the most qualifying characteristics for a potential spouse is whether or not he has a job and/or is making some money. Can I get an amen. So in short, incarcerated men, and ex-felons are often removed from our dating pool of marriageable men.
- Interracial marriage
Interracial marriage is at an all time high, not just for the obvious black men and their non-black spouses, but for all races. Some theorists suggest that in a few decades, we will all be mixed, a melting pot of races, if we continue with this rate of interracial marriage.
So if interracial marriage is on the rise for everyone, then what’s the problem. That’s it, that’s the problem, not everyone is doing it. Out of every ethnicity and gender combination, Black women are the least reluctant group to date and/or marry outside of their race, in addition to being the lowest ethnicity and gender to expect to marry. This can be seen as a double negative for our black women.
I get it, black women want to date black men. Period. Trust me I understand, I was that woman.This requirement is so much to the point where Black women are proven to rather date/marry down than out. That means, they will settle for a man with lower socio-economic status (education and income) than to marry someone outside their race, with equal or higher socio-economic status.
Meanwhile, our brothers are falling in line with everyone else. Black men are 2-3 times MORE likely to marry someone of a difference race than black women (consistent with other races). 1 out of 5 middle class black men will marry interracially as compared to only 1 out of 10 black women.
- Economic prospects for black men have worsened while women have improved: “I want a man who has a degree, makes at least 6 figures…” followed by 15 other requirements in a mate. However, reality is, black women earn 2x more bachelor’s degrees than black men. At the graduate level, 2 black women earn degrees to every 1 black man. Post graduate degrees, 2 to 1. As far as wages are concerned, although black men still make more money, the wage gap is much smaller than just a decade ago. Currently, Black women earn 95% of what black men earn. For example, if the average income of black middle class men were 100,000, then black women would earn 95,000 (this is just an example). So for all the boss chicks out there, just know that education rates are decreasing for our men, and salary may not be as important as before. We are out there slaying those degrees and bringing home our own bacon.
Last bit of final news, normal black male to black female ratio is about 7 men to every 10 women. Taking into account the three factors above, the marriageable market is reduced down to 4 men to every 10 women.
Before you completely right me off as the barer of bad news, let me close with this.
- No, you aren’t crazy
- Yes, there is statistically a shortage of our black men (who we consider suitable for marriage)
- But guess what… you only need ONE! There’s hope!
For my sound advice on how to increase your chances to finding this ONE, refer to my other article: