African American men are more likely to benefit from marriage than African American women, according to the 2005 study The Consequences of Marriage for African Americans, released by the Institute for American Values. Approximately 48% of African American men are very happy in their marriage, as opposed to 42% of black women.
The institute’s study also found that married black men are more likely than married white men to have at least average financial rank, be satisfied with their financial condition, and report high satisfaction from health. On the other hand, married black women are less likely than their white counterparts to be of average financial rank, satisfied with their family and personal life, and be in excellent health.
The authors of the study examined the economic, psychological, and physical consequences of marriage for black men and women over the past three decades. They suggest that part of the gender disparity may be that black women, who are more often part of the labor force than white women, are suffering from the expectation that they will be both breadwinners and homemakers.
Gender differences weren’t the only gap the survey uncovered; race was also a factor. Whites are significantly more satisfied with their marriages, with 63% of white men and 61% of white women reporting that they are very happy. And only 35% of African Americans are married, compared with 57% of their white counterparts, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. While the study authors were unable to offer a definitive explanation of these racial differences, they cited a 2005 study that showed black marriages had a higher prevalence of affairs, minor violence, and spouses not feeling loved by one another.
“A healthy marriage is both economically and emotionally supportive,” explains Dr. Margaret Simms, vice president for Governance and Economic Analysis at the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies and a member of the BLACK ENTERPRISE Board of Economists. “Marriage directly impacts our ability to gain wealth.”