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According to a report released by the Urban Institute, the state of the African-American family is worse today than it was in the 1960′s. Before you become offended and charge, “What about the White family?!” The report also discloses that families of all ethnicities are showing a decline; however, the African-American household has suffered the worst decline. Plus, YourBlackWorld.com offers you news specifically about the state of Black America, so, our focus will be on the state of the African-American family.
In 1950, 17 percent of African-American children lived in a home with their mother but not their father. By 2010 that had increased to 50 percent. In 1965, only eight percent of childbirths in the Black community occurred out-of-wedlock. In 2010 that figure was 41 percent; and today, the out-of-wedlock childbirth in the Black community sits at an astonishing 72 percent. The number of African-American women married and living with their spouse was recorded as 53 percent in 1950. By 2010, it had dropped to 25 percent.
The original report titled ”The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” was released in 1965 by the late New York Sen. Daniel Moynihan. Moynihan, who was the assistant labor secretary at the time of the report’s release, laid out a series of statistics on the African-American family. Moynihan, in his report’s conclusion declared, “at the heart of the deterioration of the fabric of Negro society is the deterioration of the Negro family. It is the fundamental source of the weakness of the Negro community at the present time.” Sadly, the outlook of the African-American family is more bleak than when Moynihan wrote his conclusion.
“An analysis of national data indicates that little progress has been made on the key issues Moynihan identified,” wrote Gregory Acs, of the Urban Institute, in a statement released with the report. “Further, many of the issues he identified for Black families are now prevalent among other families.” The Urban Institute’s report also added to the original scope of the Moynihan report to include the rate of incarceration, employment, and educational attainment in the African-American community. “Since the Moynihan report was released, another major social trend has put further strains on Black families — the mass incarceration of Black men,” Acs said. “By 2010, about one out of every six Black men had spent some time in prison, compared with about 1 out of 33 white men.”
A demographic breakdown by race was not available for the 1965 report, but numbers beginning in 1974 showed disproportionate numbers of African-American men being sent to prison. In 1974, it was nine percent of Black men compared to one percent of white men. By 2010, that had risen to 16 percent of Black men and three percent of white men. The report did note that number has started to decline slightly among Black men.
Unemployment for African-American men remains more than twice as high as among white men. For white men in 1954, unemployment was zero. For African-American men in 1954, it was about 4 percent. By 2010 it was 16.7 percent for African-American men and 7.7 percent for white men. In 1954, 79 percent of African-American men were employed. By 2011 that had decreased to 57 percent. For Black women the numbers rose. In 1954, 43 percent of African-American women had jobs. By 2011 that had risen to 54 percent. The trend among African Americans was mirrored among whites, but in both cases white men and women fared better in terms of employment. Although the earnings gap between African-Americans and their white peers has narrowed, it still persists with Black men earning about 70 percent what white men do. In 1960, Black men earned about 60 percent what white men did.
There is one area of improvement: High school graduation. In 1964, fewer than half of African-American students finished high school. That compared to roughly 70 percent of white students. That has since risen to about 85 percent for both Blacks and whites. But, the number of Black students that repeat grades or were suspended was higher than for whites. Half of Black male students have been suspended, compared to 21 percent of whites.
The report was released in December 2012, but a video presentation including a roundtable with various experts was unveiled this week.
Maria Lloyd (@WritingsByMaria) is the Business Manager for the Your Black World Network and Dr. Boyce Watkins. She is a graduate of Clark Atlanta University and an advocate of dismantling the prison industrial complex, increasing entrepreneurship, reforming education, and eradicating poverty.