Crisis of Black Men’s Unemployment and its Influence on the Women and Families

Sample Research Paper

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The African American family is socially and structurally different from the traditional white family, one of the things that make it more distinctive is the higher than normal rate of unemployment and underemployment experienced by black men, this has a profound impact on the family and the women associated with men. This paper examines the effect of unemployment and underemployment on the black family and women.

The past four decades have seen a major revolution in the structure and stability of American families. According to (Farley and Allen 1987) following transformation was observed:

  • Declining rates of marriage and higher rates of divorce,
  • A reduction in fertility rates,
  • Increase in female-headed households,
  • Higher proportions of births to unmarried mothers,
  • Higher percentage of children living in single-parent households,
  • Larger percentage of children living in poverty

Although these demographic trends have been alike for both blacks and whites, their effect on black families has been more extensive, resulting in greater differentiation from white families and increasingly dissimilar marital and family experiences for these groups.

Male joblessness has been identified as a major fundamental factor in changing patterns of marriage and family life among black Americans. Wilson et al. (1986) have recognized relationships between black male unemployment and (1) high divorce rates, (2) low remarriage rates, and (3) the high proportion of children being born to unmarried women. Even though married-couple families are the most common type of family structure among black Americans, the percentage of such families has continued to decline by 1998, the proportion of such families fell precipitously to 47 percent (U.S. Bureau of the Census 2000).

While the proportion of husband-wife families also declined among whites, the decrease was less dramatic (from 88 percent in 1971 to 81 percent in 1998). During the identical period, the percentage of black families headed by women……

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