Is is time for black women to consider dating men from other races? There I said it. We tiptoe around this issue like it isn’t happening but each year there are more single black women. Why? The future of black women and marriage needs some serious consideration as the chances for a black woman to marry decreases dramatically with each year she is over thirty and if she is not married by age forty the chances she will ever marry are almost 100 percent. In the past four decades, a social and economic revolution has transformed traditional patterns of marriage and family among both whites and blacks. More white women and women of other races are marrying black men. And, black men are increasingly shying away from long term relationships with women who have children. Also, black men are staying single longer than ever. In 1950, 64 percent of black men age 14 or older were married, but by 1995, that proportion had plummeted to 43 percent. The percentage of currently married white males in the same age category also dropped, but not nearly as much, from 68 percent in 1950 to 61 percent in 1995. “The sexual revolution of the last two decades has wreaked havoc on black relationships." Young black women are now spending years getting an education and building a career. When they turn to thoughts of settling down, they find a small pool of marriageable black men... "Because available women so far outnumber them, many black men often say they see no reason to make long-term commitment . . . They feel it's safer to 'couple for the moment' and move on." Marital therapist and radio talk-show host Audrey Chapman worries about tomorrow. "African-Americans are the most unpartnered group in America. Census figures show that 35% of Americans between 24 and 34 have never married. For African-Americans, that figure is 54%." Married black women are even rarer. Between 1950 and 1995, the percentage of black women 14 or older who were married fell from 62 percent to under 38 percent. Currently, 59 percent of all white women are married, down from 66 percent in 1950. Data collected by census researchers also suggest that fewer than 75 percent of black women can expect to marry sometime in their lives, compared with 90 percent of white women. Patterson said there are an estimated 772 middle-class black men for every 1,000 middle-class black women, and the gap is widening. Those numbers alone would explain why "the situation is almost perfect for middle-class black men" seeking a long-term relationship, marriage or a family, but more difficult for many middle-class black women, Patterson said. Forty-eight percent of all black women of marriageable age are either divorced or have never been married (compared with 31 percent of white women). Among African Americans aged 20–39, there are about 10 percent more women than men. An additional 10 percent of males are in prison, and another 10 percent are otherwise restricted by the legal system. Eighty percent of African American graduate students are women. For individuals between the ages of 25 and 55, there are 86.5 black men for every 100 black women. (In this same age group, there are 100.5 white men for every 100 white women.) Other causes for this black male shortage include tragically high homicide rates (51.4 deaths per 100,000 black men), suicide rates (9.9 deaths per 100,000 black men, compared with 2.0 per 100,000 for black women), and rates of death from disease and accidents. In addition, black men are far more likely to marry non-blacks than are black women. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the incidence of black-white married couples quadrupled between 1960 and 1990. However, writers have suggested that while black men often prefer fairer-skinned women, black women tend not to prefer fairer-skinned men. Also, African Americans are more in demand as husbands than as wives, some research suggests, partly because black men are seen as slightly more masculine than white men and black women are seen as slightly less feminine than white women. The media reinforces this image of black men through its stereotypes of African American males as rugged athletes. It has also been suggested that the American government promotes single motherhood for African American women by providing welfare aid and, along with it, a certain degree of economic freedom for these women. This governmental safety net may also aid men in rationalizing their refusal to marry. The major increase in the never-married population has occurred among blacks. Between 1975 and 1999, the percentage of blacks that have never been married increased from 32 percent to 44 percent while the percentage of blacks who are married declined from over 42 percent in 1975 to 32 percent in 1999, with nearly 23 percent of African American households headed by women with children. Black Americans are more likely to divorce or separate than whites. Black women also tend to separate and divorce earlier in their marriages and are less likely to remarry. Also lower educational attainment among black males reduces the availability black males as well as marginalized earning power brought about by the lower educational levels, racism and bias. The divorce rate has had a negative impact on the black community. "Only 18 percent of black women who married in the 1940s eventually divorced a rate only slightly higher than that for white women of that era. But, of that far smaller number of black women who married in the late sixties and early seventies, 60 percent have already divorced." Today the number of children born into a black marriage averages less than 0.9 children per marriage and today only one-third of black children have two parents in the home." Interestingly, even with the purposeful destruction of black families by slave masters, during the days of slavery a black child was more likely to grow up living with both parents than he or she is today. Nevertheless, as recently as 1960, three-quarters of African Americans were born into a family of a married couple indicating a drastic change during the past 40 years in spite of the success of the Civil Rights and Women’s Movements. , , , Currently in the United States about 43 percent of African American homes are headed by women, while numbers of marriageable African American men continue to decline. The U.S. Census Bureau reports a continued drop in the prevalence of African American husband-wife families and an associated drop in the percentage of resident children and marital births in these families. In 1960, the percentage of African American children living in husband-wife families in southern, nonmetropolitan areas was 66 percent. By 1990, it had dropped to 39 percent, indicating that changes in the structure of the African American family and concurrent increases in poverty have not been restricted to the urbanized North. The bottom line is the black women are staying single through no fault of their own—or is it? By restricting themselves to a small selection pool a black woman’s chances at marriage dwindle each day. If relationships are about love and understanding, perhaps it is time to consider other alternatives—or is it?