Please join us for a colloquium being given by Jenifer Bratter, Associate Professor of Sociology at Rice University.
Racial Identity and Marriage Delays: what experiences of biracial women tell us about Black-White differences in entry to first marriage
The likelihood of entering a first marriage is persistently stratified by race, with Black women among the most likely to delay or forgo marriage compared to their White peers. Explanations often highlight various structural constraints on finding same-race “marriageable” mates. We explore how or if those who identify with multiple races have a distinctive experience. Prior evidence suggests multiracial adults are more likely than other African Americans to interact with Whites in various social spheres. We ask, does this impact their likelihood to find a spouse? Using the 2012-2016 American Community Survey, we compare (non-Hispanic) Black, White, and Black-White adults’ likelihoods of entering a first marriage, relative to remaining never married. Results indicate Black-White women’s first marriage rates exist in-between their Black and White counter-parts, independent of demographic and socioeconomic characteristics. They are both more likely than Black women but less likely than White women to be first married within a year of the survey. This indicates that conditions that result in delayed entry to marriage extend to “Black-identified” groups. However, Black-White women may have wider opportunities for marriage than their single-race Black peers, facilitating a quicker transition to marriage.