Why Educational Success Does Not Parallel with Marriage and Family for the African American Women Population

The problem is that there is not a clear understanding of why African American women with bachelor’s degree are 15% less likely to be married and those with a Master’s degree are 22% less likely to be married (Reeves & Guyot 2017). This is a problem because African American women have expressed a desire to be married and would like to understand why this problem is happening. The research has identified that this is a problem by stating that marriage patterns and individual marital behaviors have garnered interest and there have been calls for further research to understand the phenomena by research including Barr and Simons (2012).

The general marriage-based patterns and individual marital behaviors have been evinced as of increased interest among family researchers, public policy experts, and demographers (Barr & Simons 2012). In essence, marital trends and behaviors among the African Americans, conceivably more than other groups in the US, are a vital source of debate and rising concerns. The concerns and debates revolve around the differences evinced among African American families, cultural and structural origins of the differences, and their implications. According to Raley, Sweeney, and Wondra (2015), when black women are compared to their Hispanic and White women counterparts, they have a less likelihood of getting married, get married later in their lives, and experience augmented rates of marital instability. Ideally, there are long waits among the young adults residing in the US to marry as compared to any period in the previous century. For instance, the median age for women at their first marriage averages 27 years in comparison to 24 years in the 1990s and 20 years in 1995 (Raley, Sweeney, & Wondra, 2015). The scenario has been attributed to several factors one being the success in education among the African American women. Thus, it is imperative to investigate why educational success does not parallel with marriage and family for the African American women populace.

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As denoted by Hurt, Stacey, McElroy, Sheats, Landor, and Bryant (2014), recent estimates depict a vital trend where Black women have a less likelihood of entering marriages or remarry compared to the Black women or men from other ethnic or racial groups. In particular, Hurt et al. (2014) connote that seven out of ten Black women have not been married and three out of ten might never marry. Among the factors, which explain why the trend is persistent include economic instabilities, issues with long-term relationships, concerns with marriage readiness, and the desire to grow their professions, which emanates from success in education. In context, relationship contentment is based on the existence of marriage between different individuals, and a potential decline in the rates of marriage for a particular community could imply a reduction in potential relationship contentment. Sharpe and Simon (2012) allude that statistics in augmented rates of education completion among the Black women is a factor that lead to delayed marriages. Historically, black women were not known to be less capable to complete their education because of the external environmental pressures. Hence, it is noteworthy to elucidate why educational success does not parallel with marriage and family for the African American women population.

Quantitative Research Questions

The following are the fundamental research questions that the study will be established on. As depicted, the researcher will focus on the impact of educational success on marriage and family, especially among the African American women populace. The researcher also delves into the reasons that bolster educational attainment among the African American women. Finally, the study seeks to establish the opinions of the educated African Women regarding why they prefer not to be married early as the rest of women residing in the US.

  1. How is educational success related to marriage and family among the African American women population?
  2. Which underlying factors encourage the African American women to advance their education?
  3. How the opinions of educated African American women impact early marriages?


Null: There is no noteworthy correlation between educational success and marriage or family among the African American women

Alternative: There is a significant association between the level of education, marriage, and family among the African American Women



Barr, A.B., & Simons, R.L. (2012). Marriage expectations among African American Couples in Early Adulthood: A Dyadic Analysis. J Marriage Fam, 74(4); 726-742

Hurt, T.R., McElroy, S.E., Sheats, K.J., Landor, A.M., & Bryant, C.M. (2014). Married Black Men’s Opinions as to Why Black Women are Disproportionately Single: A Qualitative Study. Pers Relatsh, 21(1); 88-109

Raley, R.K., Sweeney, M.M., & Wondra, D. (2015). The growing Racial and Ethnic Divide in U.S Marriage Patterns. Future Child, 25(2); 89-109

Reeves R.V., and Guyot K. (2017). Black Women are earning college degrees, but that alone won’t close the gap. Brookings. Retrieved from https://www.brookings.edu/blog/social-mobility-memos/2017/12/04/black-women-are-earning-more-college-degrees-but-that-alone-wont-close-race-gaps/

Sharpe, R. V., & Swinton, O. H. (2012). Beyond Anecdotes: A Quantitative Examination of Black Women in Academe. The Review of Black Political Economy, 39(3), 341–352. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12114-012-9134-6