Skip to content

Special report: Do 2-parent households still matter in the black community?

Parent Cover redo_web

Cover Story Written by Tia McGill, MPH; and DeWayne Rogers
Cover images by DeWayne Rogers
Cover models: Christopher and Tricia Watkins

Seventy-two percent.

It’s a number that I just couldn’t wrap my mind around because it just seemed so improbable. That number — 72 percent — is the percentage of black children in the United States who are born to unwed mothers. Now that number may not set off any triggers, or cause any five-alarm fires in your mind, but it certainly does for me. Especially when comparing it to the seemingly low numbers of white Americans brought into the world under similar circumstances. (That number stands at 24 percent, according to the 2012 U.S. Census.)

So why are the numbers so high? Why is the percentage of black babies born to unwed mothers so disproportionate in comparison to other cultures? That was the question that we set out to answer, so we enlisted a behavioral science expert, Tia McGill, MPH, for a bit of open dialogue to discuss this disturbing trend. Below is an excerpt from our conversation:

Pages: 1 2 3 4


  1. madpoet429 on May 8, 2014 at 12:44 pm

    The black family is being destroyed by the social behavior & constant barrage of media display of single parent households & ignorance on tv. A lot of 80’s & 90’s babies have these dumb ass family values of single parent kids, I’m a hustler & School is for fools mentality! It’s like they have a self inflicted caste system where if I’m from the hood, I’m staying in the hood mentality. I’ve met young women who say they don’t want to get married & they can raise a kid on their own. That’s what they say until the real world smacks their ass silly!

  2. soisaid on May 9, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    just because there is a documented marriage doesnt mean they are not living together. or the kids father isnt in their lives. some cases they are, some cases the mom jetted. it doesnt matter if you are a single mom or dad. raise your children as best as you can. in the end, they have the deciding factor on how they choose to live their life.

  3. Msnj on May 10, 2014 at 8:42 am

    All children need both parents in the household. Parents have an influence on their daughters and sons for various reasons , a man has such a significant influence his daughter and how she views relationships with men. Boys learn from their dads how to treat a woman how to be a man, a. woman can’t raise a man I don’t care how hard she tries . If there is a father figure in the house one that is a participant in the household and not just occupying space , but has a meaningful relationship with his son or daughter , he can contribute to producing a productive citizen , someone with a strong set of good morals & values. And the child will likely emulate what he sees what she sees as she grows up and strive to have that two-parent home as well . women particularly have to stop wanting kids because their biological clock is running out . “Children” have become the new accessory the “I must have that ” children are not the latest fashion bag orYorkie puppie. Women who want children because they see others with them, need to consider adoption. There are a lot of children waiting for homes for someone to love them.