Much has already been discussed about single African Americans’ dating desires based on findings from a poll released earlier this month that showed how black people feel about various aspects of their lives. So enough about the romantic relationship numbers. Let’s look at another shocker: 69% percent of respondents have no children under 18, and this number accounts both for children living with them and those residing somewhere else.
This comes as a surprise to me because I can think of very few people of any race and any marital status who don’t have children. The high percentage of people without children leaves me wondering, where did these respondents come from? And could I move there, or could more of these childless people relocate here? Maybe the lack of little ones is a regional thing. One of my male friends has complained that it’s hard to find single women in Louisville who don’t have kids, and I’ve been known to say the same thing about local single men. Of course, the poll doesn’t break down how many of the more than two-thirds majority are married or in a long-term relationship. It also doesn’t ask how many women who answered have ever been pregnant or why respondents without children don’t have them.
“Why not?” is a question I would like answered, especially among the single respondents, mainly because I’m just curious about the lives of other single African Americans, but also because I know so many single black folks–men and women–who want children. I know unmarried men thinking about adopting and unmarried women inquiring about freezing their eggs. Besides, getting pregnant or getting someone pregnant is so easy and common that it strikes me as odd that nearly 70% of people answering this poll don’t have any kids.
Maybe black people are more sexually responsible than rates of HIV among us would suggest, or black women are careful about birth control even when condoms are absent. Maybe more people are abstinent than I thought was realistic; the survey did say that 30% of respondents not in a long-term relationship hadn’t been on any dates in more than 2 years. Maybe the sexually active are so careful because they’re not married or in a long-term relationship yet. Hey, 57% of respondents weren’t even interested in a long-term relationship, so why would they have a kid and automatically link themselves to someone forever? Folks might have sense enough to know they can’t afford kids. The same percentage–69–of respondents make less than $50,000 a year (and 40% of that group under $25,000 annually), and kids are expensive. It’s also possible that married couples (29% of respondents) aren’t having children these days, and that they aren’t because they’re good with just the two of them. I don’t know many couples like this, especially among black people, but they definitely exist.
I’m probably most surprised because I contend with stereotypes just like everyone else, and when it comes to relationships and family, this NPR survey has turned some standard images on their heads. Although I know shows like the cancelled “All My Babies’ Mamas” on Oxygen portray black life unfairly at best, it really is rare for me to meet men who don’t have any children at all, and I’m one of very few women standing to receive recognition when they hand out flowers on Mother’s Day in church.
So wherever these childless single black men seeking a long-term relationship are, I’m just putting this out there: There’s a single, childless single black woman blogging about how rare you are and how much she’d like to know you.