Why is HBCU Money talking about marriage? We thought this was a site about money. Well, there are many economists and community developers that agree that one of the most fundamental ingredients to wealth building is marriage. It allows for scaling of capital towards savings and investment, reduction of expenses, and an ability to provide familial stability. Unfortunately, like our median income and wealth, there is no group less likely to actually get married than African Americans. The hurdles to African American marriage are deep and complicated and the solutions to them potentially even more deep and complicated. All that said, anything that leads to higher marriage rates between African Americans can only add to the community’s ability to actually stabilize and empower itself socially, economically, and politically. We of course acknowledge that marriages come in all forms, but the most important form is a healthy, happy, and loving marriage.
National African American Marriage Rate – 29.7%
- Virginia – 34.0%
- Maryland – 33.2%
- Delaware & Texas – 32.8%
- Florida & North Carolina – 31.3%
- Georgia – 30.9%
- Oklahoma – 30.0%
- Arkansas – 29.8%
- California – 29.7%
- Alabama & South Carolina – 29.4%
- Mississippi – 28.9%
The question then becomes how can HBCUs, their alumni, and other support organizations encourage more marriage among African Americans at HBCUs? This becomes vital for HBCU’s future because it could be suggested that a couple who both went to HBCUs would be more likely to send their child to an HBCU. Whereas a couple with only one HBCU parent present or no HBCU parents present is far less likely. To encourage coupling as part of an HBCU’s development strategy would by no means be simple given the ratio of women to men on HBCU campuses these days. Simply put, there are not enough men for women to choose from in the heterosexual relationships. And unless more data is collected on LGBTQ HBCU students, there may not be a viable quantity there for them either. This is why it would be important if this was to be considered that a network of HBCU development offices strategize together and increase the probability of matchmaking.
Tracking the statistics on HBCU marriage and family would also be immensely valuable information. An opportunity that certainly presents itself for further research by Hampton University’s National Center on African American Marriage and Parenting. Very little data is actually known on HBCU marriages and families.
Ultimately, HBCUs and their alumni though who can encourage more marriage among HBCU students/graduates must do so through ensuring those relationships are healthy. This means that there must be more mental and physical health development, financial literacy, and relationship etiquette taught. With seven of the ten HBCU states exceeding the national average for African American marriage the ingredients are certainly there for this seed to grow, but it indeed must be watered if we truly plan to see more marriage and healthier marriage which we know can also be one of the key tenets to community formation and building.
Source: U.S. Census