For Black Women, Singleness is a Complicated Issue

Though the City of Nashville offers a growing list of romantic date ideas for lovers, this year, many Nashvillians will spend this Valentine’s Day alone. While the institution of marriage is alive and well in Tennessee–a state that boasted the 5th highest rate of marriage in 2017– Black women, in particular, are struggling to find love in the ‘Ville. Statistics have steadily shown that Black women are significantly less likely to marry than their White, Asian, and Hispanic counterparts.

The pervasive issue of singleness among Black women is multifaceted. For starters, a sizable portion of Black men are effectively “missing” from daily life, as a result of a combination of factors such as incarceration and early death, and overrepresentation in the military. In fact, in 2015, The New York Times put the number of missing Black men 1.5 million.

In addition, a growing gender gap in regards to educational attainment among Black men and women has added additional pressure to the already strained relationship between marriage and Black Americans. The disparity in marriage rates has persisted, even as educational attainment among Black women skyrockets: African American women beat out black men in regards to attainment of bachelor’s, master’s, and professional degrees. While a college education typically boosts a person’s likelihood of becoming married, Black college graduates are significantly less likely to be married than White women without a college degree. Furthermore, while Whites are likely to marry a partner of a similar educational level, Black women are more likely to either marry a man of lower educational status or forgo marriage altogether rather than “marry down.”

Finally, the results of an Ohio State University study suggest that colorism may even influence a Black woman’s likelihood of getting married. According to the research, darker-skinned women are less than half as likely to be married at some point in their lives than their fair-skinned counterparts. Recent data also demonstrate disparities in rates of interracial marriage: Black men are twice as likely than black women to marry outside of their race.

However–help is on the way! On Thursday, February 13th, single women are invited to come together for a discussion about relationships and dating prospects in Nashville over complimentary food and wine. Kimberly Brownie Vaughn, motivational speaker and author of the book Too Much, Too Fast, will host the event, which will take place from 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm at Events @ 624 on Jefferson Street.

A survey of Black male bachelors by The Nashville Voice showed that Black men in Nashville are not only seeking Black women, but also interested in marriage and settling down when the time is right. As apps and social media fuel transformations of the norms that govern dating and relationships, the age-old quest to find love remains a formidable task, even amidst our entrance into a new decade.

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