A recent study of women with postgraduate degrees suggests that black women born after 1950 are increasingly likely — and twice as likely as their white peers — to be unmarried at age 45. The study also found that 45 percent of black academic women born between 1955 and 1960 were childless at age 45, compared with 35 percent of white women born in the same time period.
The authors discuss these findings in terms of diminishing marital options for women of color, who, they say, are less likely than white women to marry outside their race and who are less likely than whites or black men to marry a college-educated spouse.
This explanation seems plausible. I wonder, though, whether there are other contributing factors to this phenomenon. For example, as women of any race become more educated and independent, the pull to marry for any reason besides having found the perfect mate lessens. Some of these women may be lesbians who might have remained closeted in earlier times, marrying and raising families. And not having children is an increasingly acceptable option.
How any of these explanations (if they are valid) might intersect with race, I don’t know. Thoughts?