Contrary to popular belief 42% of Black children live with two parents (compared to 70% of all children) while 51% live with one parent (compared to 25% of all children). The reason why this is not well known may have to do with a commonly repeated statistic regarding out-of-wedlock births (70%) which only takes into account whether or not a woman was married at the time she gave birth. This of course doesn’t factor in that many births take place to engaged or couples who are not yet married or who plan to cohabitate indefinitely.
The lower chart gives more details about the living arrangement of Black children. Thirty eight percent of Black children live with parents who are currently married and 4% live with parents who live together but are not married. Thirteen percent of Black children live with their mother who is divorced or separated and only 31% live with a mother who has never been married. These facts add context to the out-of-wedlock Births discussion which usually steers the focus or cause of additional obstacles Black children face on a “plague” of absent Black fathers.
According to the CDC 58% of Black fathers live with one or more of their children and a even a larger majority (72.7%) of Black fathers talk with their children about things that happened during the day (several times a week or more) whether they live with their children or not. This is only one example that illustrates how fathers are involved with their children as opposed to fatherhood being defined by living arrangements. This is also an example of how the 70% out of wedlock statistic can be very misleading especially when used to emphasize Black fatherlessness, or policy and issues regarding the Black family. These facts do not negate the real issues and challenges of Black families and relationship issues within the Black community, they just add context for a more productive study or discussion.