Marital Status, Family, and Living Arrangements

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Regardless of their composition, families are generally regarded as a cornerstone of society. For many years, particularly when the United States was primarily an agricultural society, extended families—multiple generations living in the same household—were considered typical. As the culture became more urban and mobile, nuclear families—two parents and their children—became the American norm.

Shifts in economics, employment, moral values, and social conditions, however, have led to an increasing number of single men and women living alone, cohabitations without marriage, and single-parent families. A growing number of children, especially minorities, are being raised by only one parent or by neither parent, as is the case of those being raised by grandparents or foster parents. The role and the makeup of families, particularly minority families, have been undergoing change.


In March 2000 approximately 116 million Americans (age fifteen years and older) were married, up from ninety-five million in 1970 and 104.6 million in 1980. (See Table 2.1.) This figure includes both those who do and those who do not live with their spouses. However, the proportion of married people age eighteen years and over has continued to decrease. In 1970, 72 percent of this population was married, dropping to 65.5 percent in 1980. In 1998 the U.S. Bureau of the Census (which counted married couples age fifteen years and over instead of age eighteen and over as it did in previous years) reported their proportion at 56.4 percent. In March 2000 that number was 54.2 percent. The number of married African-Americans decreased from 64 percent in 1970 to 51 percent in 1980 to 34.2 percent in March 2000. Likewise, the proportion of married whites and Hispanics declined from 73 percent and 72 percent, respectively, in 1970, to 67 percent and 66 percent, respectively, in 1980 to 57 percent and 52.1 percent, respectively, in March 2000. Among Asians and Pacific Islanders (APIs), 57 percent of the population was married as of March 2000. (See Table 2.1.)

Never Married

Racial differences among never-married people are significant. Among those over age fifteen, African-Americans are far more likely than whites, Hispanics, or APIs to have never married. In March 2000, 43.5 percent of African-Americans had never been married, compared to 25.5 percent of whites, 33.2 percent of Hispanics, and 33.1 percent of APIs. (See Table 2.1.)

The proportions of men and women in their twenties and thirties who have never married have grown substantially for all races since the 1970s. Between 1970 and 2000 the proportion of never-married African-American women ages twenty to twenty-four more than doubled from 43.5 percent to 88.6 percent. The proportion that remained never-married at ages twenty-five to twenty-nine more than tripled from 19 percent to 62.9 percent, while the proportion of those who were never-married at ages thirty to thirty-four years almost quadrupled from 11 percent in 1970 to 43.6 percent in March 2000. Although the proportion of young white women who never married also rose quite sharply, only 17.8 percent of white women had never been married by ages thirty to thirty-four years, compared to 43.6 percent of same-age African-American women. The proportion of white women never married by ages thirty to thirty-four years was similar to that of Hispanic women (17.9 percent). The proportion of API women who had not married by ages thirty to thirty-four was a little higher, at 22.6 percent. (See Table 2.1.)

For both African-Americans and whites, there is a significantly higher number of women than men. Since most marriages are between same-race partners, these gender inequalities might affect the number of marriages occurring. In March 2000 there were 91.1 million white

TotalMarried spouse presentMarried spouse absentWidowedDivorcedSeparatedNever marriedTotalMarried spouse presentMarried spouse absentWidowedDivorcedSeparatedNever married
All racesNNNNNNN%%%%%%%
Both sexes
Total 15+213,773113,0022,73013,66519,8814,47960,016100.
15-19 years20,10234536136410319,542100.
20-24 years18,4413,3621341126923514,430100.
25-29 years18,2688,334280269174598,252100.
30-34 years19,51811,930278781,6155465,071100.
35-39 years22,32014,4263771732,7946983,852100.
40-44 years22,48514,9273402263,1747373,081100.
45-49 years19,74813,4402793622,9965082,164100.
50-54 years16,88212,0202145212,6003901,139100.
55-59 years12,8689,0181617361,971258724100.
60-64 years10,5197,3751461,0341,287183494100.
65-69 years9,3526,2041521,562896136402100.066.31.616.
70-74 years8,4445,122962,160635122309100.
75+ years14,8256,5002366,762663104558100.043.81.645.
15-17 years12,01170710536711,804100.
18+ years201,762112,9322,72313,65519,8284,41248,213100.
15-64 years181,15295,1752,2453,18017,6884,11758,747100.
65+ years32,62117,82748510,4852,1933611,269100.054.61.532.
Total 15+103,11456,5011,3652,6048,5721,81832,253100.
15-19 years10,2956933295110,140100.
20-24 years9,2081,25275-101707,710100.013.60.8-1.10.883.7
25-29 years8,9423,65813993421704,625100.
30-34 years9,6215,640151157122052,899100.
35-39 years11,0326,945226421,3082692,241100.
40-44 years11,1037,365161541,4673161,740100.
45-49 years9,6546,675161531,3812301,156100.
50-54 years8,2356,35294104996148541100.
55-59 years6,1054,56785158838110347100.
60-64 years5,0323,8967317154978265100.
65-69 years4,3763,3506228537677227100.
70-74 years3,6732,8213938224962121100.
75+ years5,8373,914971,32722533242100.067.11.722.
15-17 years6,21216-328376,129100.00.3-
18+ years96,90156,4851,3652,6018,5441,78126,124100.
15-64 years89,22846,4171,1686097,7231,64731,664100.
65+ years13,88610,0841971,994849171590100.072.61.414.
Total 15+110,66056,5011,36511,06111,3092,66127,763100.
15-19 years9,807276331035529,401100.
20-24 years9,2332,11059111681646,720100.
25-29 years9,3264,676141185752893,627100.
30-34 years9,8966,290127639043412,172100.
35-39 years11,2887,4811511311,4864291,610100.
40-44 years11,3827,5621791721,7064221,341100.
45-49 years10,0946,7651183091,6162791,008100.
50-54 years8,6475,6681194161,604242598100.
55-59 years6,7634,451765781,133148377100.
60-64 years5,4873,47974863738105229100.063.41.315.713.51.94.2
65-69 years4,9762,855901,27752059175100.057.41.825.710.41.23.5
70-74 years4,7712,302581,77838660188100.
75+ years8,9882,5871405,43543872317100.028.81.660.
15-17 years5,798547825305,674100.
18+ years104,86156,4471,35811,05411,2842,63122,089100.053.81.310.510.82.521.1
15-64 years91,92448,7581,0772,5719,9652,47027,083100.
65+ years18,7357,7432888,4901,344190680100.041.31.545.

women age fifteen years and older, compared to 86.4 million white men age fifteen years and older. Likewise, there were 14.2 million African-American women age fifteen years and older, compared to 11.7 million African-American men ages fifteen and over. The numbers are more favorable for marriage among Hispanics as well as APIs. In March 2000 there were 11.5 million Hispanic women age fifteen years and older, compared to 11.3 million Hispanic men age fifteen years and older. Likewise, there were 4.4 million API women age fifteen years and older, compared to four million API men in the same age group. (See Table 2.1.)

In 1970, 9.2 percent of both African-American men and white men and 11 percent of Hispanic men ages thirty to thirty-four years were never married. By March 2000, however, the percentage of African-American men who had

TotalMarried spouse presentMarried spouse absentWidowedDivorcedSeparatedNever marriedTotalMarried spouse presentMarried spouse absentWidowedDivorcedSeparatedNever married
Both sexes
Total 15+177,58199,2581,97111,53216,5472,97645,297100.
15-19 years15,842315325517415,364100.
20-24 years14,6713,003101523319411,136100.
25-29 years14,5567,215199177583526,016100.
30-34 years15,76410,282170611,3213333,597100.
35-39 years18,32412,4442581372,2904712,724100.
40-44 years18,59112,9012271842,6314872,162100.
45-49 years16,47611,7432092642,4493121,499100.
50-54 years14,31410,5091583962,169257826100.
55-59 years11,0797,9771215851,704143548100.
60-64 years9,0846,6101208181,023132382100.
65-69 years8,0995,595901,27976466306100.
70-74 years7,4284,655831,79755882253100.
75+ years13,3526,0092045,98459773485100.045.01.544.
15-17 years9,441637341489,280100.
18+ years168,14099,1951,96411,52916,5072,92836,017100.
15-64 years148,70282,9991,5952,47214,6282,75544,254100.
65+ years28,88016,2593769,0601,9202211,043100.056.31.331.
Total 15+86,44349,6729792,1967,2461,23725,113100.
15-19 years8,118683323357,986100.
20-24 years7,4241,11254-93466,119100.015.00.7-1.20.682.4
25-29 years7,2743,2049592821283,556100.
30-34 years7,8704,87788135771262,188100.
35-39 years9,1896,021153311,1041871,693100.
40-44 years9,3056,362114451,2392161,330100.
45-49 years8,1725,846122401,147152865100.
50-54 years7,0325,5018283852112402100.
55-59 years5,3094,0246912573469287100.
60-64 years4,4153,4885913545563214100.
65-69 years3,8183,0132724632433175100.
70-74 years3,2752,570303152144898100.
75+ years5,2423,586821,15320321198100.068.41.622.
15-17 years4,86115-322234,798100.00.3-
18+ years81,58249,6579792,1947,2241,21320,315100.
15-64 years74,10840,5038404836,5051,13524,641100.
65+ years12,3359,1691391,713741102472100.
Total 15+91,13849,5869929,3369,3011,73920,184100.
15-19 years7,72424729328407,378100.
20-24 years7,2471,8924651401485,016100.
25-29 years7,2824,01110494762232,460100.
30-34 years7,8945,40582487442071,408100.
35-39 years9,1356,4231051061,1862841,031100.
40-44 years9,2866,5391131391,392271833100.
45-49 years8,3035,897872241,302160634100.
50-54 years7,2825,007763131,317145425100.
55-59 years5,7703,9535246097073261100.
60-64 years4,6703,1216168356869167100.066.81.314.612.21.53.6
65-69 years4,2822,582631,03344133130100.060.31.524.
70-74 years4,1532,085531,48234434155100.050.21.335.
75+ years8,1092,4231224,83239452287100.029.91.559.
15-17 years4,580487-19254,482100.01.00.1-0.40.597.9
18+ years86,55849,5389859,3369,2821,71515,702100.
15-64 years74,59442,4957551,9898,1231,62019,612100.
65+ years16,5457,0902377,3471,179119572100.042.91.444.

never been married had increased nearly fivefold to 46.1 percent, compared to a threefold increase to 27.8 percent for white men and 28.7 percent for Hispanic men. Approximately 29.5 percent of API men ages thirty to thirty-four years had never married. (See Table 2.1.)

Interracial Marriage

Drawing on Census data, researchers at the University of Michigan reported in 1997 that the percentage of inter-racial marriages had quadrupled between the 1940s and 1990. For example, about 8 percent of African-American men were married to a partner of a different race in 1990, compared with less than 2 percent before 1950. A further study by University of Michigan researchers David Harris and Hiromi Ono indicated that the number of interracial couples who were cohabiting without marriage had also increased significantly. However, the vast majority of marriages in the United States remain between partners of

TotalMarried spouse presentMarried spouse absentWidowedDivorcedSeparatedNever marriedTotalMarried spouse presentMarried spouse absentWidowedDivorcedSeparatedNever married
Both sexes
Total 15+25,8558,3914301,6952,7781,30711,253100.
15-19 years3,057144313233,001100.
20-24 years2,76221515216372,476100.
25-29 years2,521672399120891,591100.
30-34 years2,64294864142431911,182100.
35-39 years2,9011,2717924422190916100.
40-44 years2,7981,2465637448215797100.
45-49 years2,3369924784468178567100.
50-54 years1,7678942992357120276100.
55-59 years1,28864327122241104151100.
60-64 years1,028492141712114199100.047.91.316.620.53.99.7
65-69 years869354302141205992100.040.83.424.613.86.810.6
70-74 years7553164290593748100.041.90.538.
75+ years1,13033423632602358100.
15-17 years1,8394-313161,803100.00.2-
18+ years24,0168,3884301,6922,7651,2909,451100.
15-64 years23,1007,3873735592,5381,18711,055100.
65+ years2,7541,004571,137239119198100.
Total 15+11,6874,2942073281,1085045,246100.
15-19 years1,5341--6161,511100.00.1--
20-24 years1,274819-3241,158100.06.40.7-0.21.990.8
25-29 years1,10230221-4933698100.027.41.9-
30-34 years1,20343633-11070554100.036.22.8-9.15.846.1
35-39 years1,33763042917069416100.
40-44 years1,290639281018985338100.
45-49 years1,065495201321173253100.
50-54 years80650871811635123100.
55-59 years5563361428923453100.
60-64 years42427572171942100.
65-69 years3761981530443849100.
70-74 years285170254281417100.059.70.519.
75+ years4342211014620433100.050.92.333.
15-17 years9501--614930100.00.1--0.61.497.8
18+ years10,7374,2932073281,1024904,316100.
15-64 years10,5923,704181981,0164475,146100.
65+ years1,095590272309257100100.053.92.521.
Total 15+14,1674,0972231,3671,6708036,008100.
15-19 years1,5221343771,489100.
20-24 years1,4881346213141,318100.
25-29 years1,4183711897157892100.
30-34 years1,4395123114133121627100.
35-39 years1,5656413616252120500100.
40-44 years1,5086072727259130459100.
45-49 years1,2714962871256105314100.
50-54 years961386227424185153100.
55-59 years73230713941497098100.042.01.812.920.49.513.4
60-64 years60321771501403158100.
65-69 years49315615184762043100.031.62.937.315.44.18.7
70-74 years4691462236312331100.031.10.550.
75+ years69711313486401925100.016.21.969.
15-17 years8893-373873100.00.3-
18+ years13,2794,0952231,3641,6638005,135100.030.81.710.312.56.038.7
15-64 years12,5083,6831934611,5227405,909100.
65+ years1,659414309061476399100.025.01.854.

the same race—whites marry whites, African-Americans marry African-Americans, and so on. In March 2000, 97.4 percent of married couples were members of the same race. Interracial couples consisting of one white person and one African-American made up 0.6 percent of married couples. Interracial couples consisting of one white person and one Asian or Pacific Islander made up 1.2 percent of married couples. Approximately 3.1 percent of married couples were made up of one Hispanic and one non-Hispanic. (See Table 2.2.)


Not surprisingly, the number of births of mixed-racial parentage has kept pace with increases in interracial marriage and cohabitation. The change in the question of race for Census 2000, which enabled people to identify themselves by multiple races,

TotalMarried spouse presentMarried spouse absentWidowedDivorcedSeparatedNever marriedTotalMarried spouse presentMarried spouse absentWidowedDivorcedSeparatedNever married
Asians and Pacific IslandersNNNNNNN%%%%%%%
Both sexes
Total 15+8,4154,5112843373601372,787100.
15-19 years93813-4-6914100.01.4-0.5-0.697.5
20-24 years81010512-3-690100.013.01.5-0.4-85.2
25-29 years98739039-2010529100.039.53.9-
30-34 years9085903532915236100.
35-39 years93762537125833172100.
40-44 years8976544657317101100.
45-49 years7705872213581576100.
50-54 years6625282120531325100.
55-59 years37831812199810100.
60-64 years328223133341613100.068.13.910.
65-69 years3122122953684100.
70-74 years2031327515-6100.065.23.625.42.7-3.1
75+ years286132101224711100.046.23.442.
15-17 years5563-4-2546100.00.6-0.8-0.498.3
18+ years7,8594,5082843323601352,241100.
15-64 years7,6144,0342381103451222,766100.
65+ years80047746227151521100.059.55.728.
Total 15+4,0412,11816349130531,528100.
15-19 years483-----483100.0-----100.0
20-24 years419389---372100.09.02.2---88.8
25-29 years47512620-113315100.026.54.1-2.30.766.4
30-34 years457276262118135100.
35-39 years4342613132911100100.
40-44 years39428816-23858100.073.14.1-
45-49 years33927918-9429100.082.35.4-
50-54 years3393005-20211100.088.71.5-
55-59 years1771622-653100.091.31.1-
60-64 years146104691619100.
65-69 years147116175342100.078.611.
70-74 years937676--4100.
75+ years13992525278100.066.03.617.
15-17 years287-----287100.0-----100.0
18+ years3,7532,11816349130531,241100.
15-64 years3,6621,83513314125421,514100.
65+ years379283303651114100.
Total 15+4,3742,393120287230841,259100.
15-19 years45613-4-6432100.03.0-1.0-1.394.8
20-24 years391673-3-318100.017.20.7-0.7-81.4
25-29 years51326419-106214100.051.53.7-1.91.341.7
30-34 years45131491187102100.
35-39 years50236379292272100.
40-44 years50336630550943100.
45-49 years431308313481147100.
50-54 years3232281620331114100.
55-59 years2011561119347100.
60-64 years1831197242544100.065.23.613.
65-69 years165971148342100.058.76.829.
70-74 years11057-465-2100.051.3-41.74.9-2.0
75+ years146405972-3100.
15-17 years2683-4-2259100.01.2-1.6-0.896.4
18+ years4,1062,390120283230821,000100.
15-64 years3,9532,19910596220801,252100.
65+ years421193161911047100.045.93.845.

makes it easier to track mixed-race Americans. According to Census 2000, 6,826,228 Americans—or 2.4 percent of the total population—identified themselves as belonging to two or more races. (See Table 2.3.)

Approximately 54.4 percent of Native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders reported being of mixed race. Approximately 39.9 percent of Native Americans and Alaska Natives claimed to be multiracial. Among Asian-Americans, 13.9 percent reported being of multiracial heritage. The groups with the smallest number claiming multiracial heritage in Census 2000 were African-Americans with 4.8 percent and whites with 2.5 percent. (See Table 2.4.)


The Bureau of the Census reported in America's Families and Living Arrangements (Washington, DC, 2000) that in March 2000, 19.9 million (9.3 percent) of all adults (age fifteen and older) who had ever been married were

TotalMarried spouse presentMarried spouse absentWidowedDivorcedSeparatedNever marriedTotalMarried spouse presentMarried spouse absentWidowedDivorcedSeparatedNever married
Both sexes
Total 15+22,79311,2216668811,6238457,558100.
15-19 years2,88810310310182,744100.
20-24 years2,75578055527631,826100.
25-29 years2,8311,491836811041,066100.
30-34 years2,8291,7859116160116662100.
35-39 years2,8101,81710929253119484100.
40-44 years2,1641,4128235270101263100.
45-49 years1,580996584520585192100.
50-54 years1,438915635120878124100.
55-59 years99059941831494969100.
60-64 years7554453295855642100.
65-69 years64636213133862428100.
70-74 years48624614118532134100.050.72.824.410.84.37.0
75+ years62127016263371124100.043.52.642.
15-17 years1,685212-471,651100.01.30.1-0.20.498.0
18+ years21,10911,2006648811,6198385,907100.
15-64 years21,04110,3436233661,4487897,472100.
65+ years1,752878435141755785100.050.12.429.410.03.24.9
Total 15+11,3275,5504021706692884,249100.
15-19 years1,50921--461,478100.01.4--0.30.497.9
20-24 years1,45328732-8221,105100.019.72.2-0.61.576.0
25-29 years1,41669650-4235594100.049.13.5-3.02.541.9
30-34 years1,4398576346041414100.
35-39 years1,42290474611029298100.
40-44 years1,05873456310428134100.
45-49 years8105374248336107100.
50-54 years679481295833843100.
55-59 years4613022323751127100.
60-64 years3592441516402221100.
65-69 years273193621311211100.
70-74 years1961295242089100.065.92.712.510.24.14.7
75+ years2511656621027100.
15-17 years8841--22878100.00.1--
18+ years10,4435,5494021706672863,370100.
15-64 years10,6075,063385626092674,221100.
65+ years72048717108602227100.067.52.415.
Total 15+11,4665,6712647119545573,309100.
15-19 years1,379821037121,266100.
20-24 years1,3024932351941721100.
25-29 years1,4157953363969473100.
30-34 years1,390927271110175248100.
35-39 years1,388913342214390186100.
40-44 years1,105679263216673129100.
45-49 years77145916411214984100.
50-54 years75943434451254081100.
55-59 years5292961760743943100.056.03.311.414.07.38.0
60-64 years3962011779463421100.
65-69 years3731697112551317100.045.41.930.
70-74 years290117894331325100.040.42.932.411.24.58.5
75+ years37010610201271016100.028.62.854.
15-17 years801202-15772100.02.50.2-0.20.796.4
18+ years10,6655,6512627119525522,537100.
15-64 years10,4345,2792383048395223,251100.
65+ years1,032392264071143558100.038.02.539.411.13.45.6
-Represents zero or rounds to zero
*Hispanics may be of any race.
N = Number.
source: Adapted from "Table A1. Marital Status of People 15 Years and over, by Age, Sex, Personal Earnings, Race, and Hispanic Origin, March 2000," in America's Families and Living Arrangements, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC, 2000

divorced. This is not the proportion of all adults who had ever been divorced, but the proportion of adults who were divorced at the time of the survey. A somewhat larger pro portion of African-Americans (10.7 percent) than whites (9.3 percent) and Hispanics (7.1 percent) were divorced. Divorce for all of those groups was up sharply from 1970,

CharacteristicUnmarried couplesMarried couplesUnmarried couplesMarried couples
Number of couples
Age difference
Male 6 or more years older than female94411,04924.719.6
Male 2 to 5 years older than female1,09320,51528.636.3
Within 1 year of each other97517,98225.531.8
Female 2 to 5 years older than male4605,08612.09.0
Female 6 or more years older than male3491,8649.13.3
Race difference1
Same race couples3,61455,02994.697.4
Both white3,04048,91779.586.6
Both black4803,98912.67.1
Both Asian and Pacific Islander451,9141.23.4
Interracial couples1651,0474.31.9
Black/Asian and Pacific Islander925--
White/Asian and Pacific Islander676551.81.2
Hispanic origin difference2
Both Hispanic3324,7398.78.4
Neither Hispanic3,26850,01585.588.5
One Hispanic and one non-Hispanic2221,7435.83.1
Male more education than female88513,84323.224.5
Male and female same education1,87130,59049.054.1
Female more education than male1,06512,06427.921.4
Employment status
Male only employed69512,64218.222.4
Female only employed4103,85510.76.8
Neither employed2309,7876.017.3
Both employed2,48430,21265.053.5
Earnings difference3
Male $30,000 or more higher than female54616,67914.329.5
Male $5,000 to $29,999 higher than female1,55316,54940.629.3
Within $4,999 of each other90214,86023.626.3
Female $5,000 to $29,999 higher than male6676,25617.511.1
Female $30,000 or more higher than male1542,1524.03.8
-Represents zero or rounds to zero.
1This race comparison is regardless of Hispanic origin.
2This difference does not consider race. People of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
3Includes people with no earnings or loss.
Note: Data are not shown separately for the American Indian and Alaska Native population because of the small sample size in the Current Population Survey in March 2000.
source: Jason Fields and Lynne M. Casper, "Table 8. Characteristics of Unmarried and Married Male-Female Couples: March 2000," in America's Families and Living Arrangements, Current Population Reports P20-537, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC, 2000

when 4.4 percent of African-Americans, 3.1 percent of whites, and 3.9 percent of Hispanics were divorced. Bucking the trend, the percentage of APIs who were divorced as of March 2000 was 4.3 percent. (See Table 2.1.)

Because men are considerably more likely than women to remarry following divorce, there are significantly higher proportions of divorced women than men. The Census Bureau reported in March 2000 that 9.5 percent of African-American males and 11.8 percent of African-American females age fifteen years and over were divorced, while 8.4 percent of white males and 10.2 percent of white females were also divorced. Among those of Hispanic origin, 5.9 percent of men and 8.3 percent of women were divorced. In the API community, 3.2 percent of men and 5.3 percent of women age fifteen years and older were divorced. (See Table 2.1.)


In March 2000, 6.4 percent of the U.S. adult population reported being widowed. This included 9.6 percent of African-American women and 2.8 percent of African-American men age fifteen years and over, compared to 6.2 percent of Hispanic women and 1.5 percent of Hispanic men. Among APIs, 6.6 percent of women age fifteen and older were widowed, compared to 1.2 percent of men. The comparable rates for white women and white men were 10.2 and 2.5 percent, respectively. (See Table 2.1.)


Over the generations, a major change in American attitudes has removed much of the social stigma from unwed teenage motherhood. Unmarried women of all ages are having children openly and with a regularity that was unheard of just a few generations ago. Many women do not feel the need to marry when they become pregnant.

Many possible reasons are offered for the high rates of teenage motherhood. Among them are lack of access to birth control, lack of education, and little hope for the future, including absence of educational goals. What is certain is that the health of the babies born to teenagers, especially minorities, is often as risk. According to research conducted by Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, African-American teenagers are twice as likely as white teenagers to deliver low-birth-weight babies and 1.5 times more likely to have premature babies. Both low-birth-weight and premature babies are subject to a number of serious health problems, as well as subsequent developmental problems. In general, babies born to teenage mothers of all races suffer a higher risk of low birth weight, preterm delivery, and infant mortality compared to babies born to older mothers.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics' National Vital Statistics Reports (vol. 50, no. 5, February 12,

Number of racesNumberPercent of total populationPercent of total Two or more races population
Total population281,421,906100.0(X)
One race274,595,67897.6(X)
Two or more races6,826,2282.4100.0
Two races6,368,0752.393.3
Three races410,2850.16.0
Four races38,408-0.6
Five races8,637-0.1
Six races823--
-Percentage rounds to 0.0.
X Not applicable.
source: Nicholas A. Jones and Amy Symens Smith, "Table 1. Total Population by Number of Races Reported: 2000," in The Two or More Races Population: 2000, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC, November 2001

2002), in 2000 the birthrate for non-Hispanic African-American teenagers ages fifteen to seventeen was fifty-two births per 1,000 women. This was more than three times the rate for non-Hispanic white teens—15.8 per 1,000 women. Hispanics in the same age group had the highest birthrate, at sixty births per 1,000 women. Asians and Pacific Islanders had the lowest rate, at 11.5 births per 1,000 women, while Native Americans had a birthrate of 39.6 births per 1,000 women. All of the teen birthrates were down from 1999, when the rate for ages fifteen to seventeen for African-Americans was 53.7; for whites, 17.1; for Hispanics, 61.3; for APIs, 12.3; and for Native Americans, 41.4. (See Table 2.5.)

The trend reverses among Hispanic and American Indian women eighteen to nineteen years of age, as birthrates in this age group rose from 1999 to 2000. Hispanic females ages eighteen to nineteen in 2000 had a birthrate of 143.6 births per 1,000 women, compared to 139.4 births per 1,000 women in 1999. American Indian women's birth rates in that age range went from 110.6 in 1999 to 113.1 in 2000. Among non-Hispanic African-American females ages eighteen to nineteen, the birthrate was 125.1 births per 1,000 women in 2000, down from 126.8 per 1,000 women. These groups were more than twice as likely to have a baby as non-Hispanic white women of the same age—that rate was 56.8 per 1,000 in 2000, down from 58.9 per 1,000 in 1999. API teens in the same age group had the lowest birthrates: thirty-seven births per 1,000 women in 2000, down from thirty-eight per 1,000 women in 1999. Though Native Americans ages eighteen to nineteen generally had higher birthrates than white teens, with 113.1 births per 1,000 eighteen-to nineteen-year-olds in 2000, they had lower birthrates than their non-Hispanic African-American counterparts. (See Table 2.5.)


African-American Families

The Bureau of the Census defines a family as two or more persons living together who are related by birth, marriage,

Specified raceAlone or in combination1Alone2In combination3Percent in combination4
Black or African American36,419,43434,658,1901,761,2444.8
American Indian and Alaska Native4,119,3012,475,9561,643,34539.9
Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander874,414398,835475,57954.4
Some other race18,521,48615,359,0733,162,41317.1
1People who reported only one race, together with those who reported that same race plus one or more other races, are combined to create the race alone or in combination categories.
2People who reported only one race create the race alone categories.
3People who reported more than one of the six race categories create the race in combination categories.
4The "percent in combination" is the proportion that the "in combination" population represented of the "alone or in combination" population. This is the equivalent of the percent of people reporting a specified race who reported two or more races.
source: Nicholas A. Jones and Amy Symens Smith, "Table 5. Percent Reporting Two or More Races by Specified Race: 2000," in The Two or More Races Population: 2000, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC, November 2001
Year and ageTotal1WhiteBlackAmerican Indian2Asian or Pacific Islander2Hispanic3
15–19 years
Percent change, 1991–2000−22−25−31−20−21−12
Percent change, 1999–2000−2−4−20−31
15–17 years
Percent change, 1991–2000−29−33−40−25−29−15
Percent change, 1999–2000−5−8−3−4−7−2
18–19 years
Percent change, 1991–2000−16−19−23−16−14−9
Percent change, 1999–2000−1−4−12−33
1Includes origin not stated.
2Includes persons of Hispanic and non-Hispanic origin.
3Persons of Hispanic origin may be of any race.
source: Joyce A. Martin, Brady E. Hamilton, Stephanie J. Ventura, Fay Menacker, and Melissa M. Park, "Table A. Birth Rates for Teenagers 15–19 Years by Age, Race and Hispanic Origin of Mother: United States, 1991, 1999, and 2000, and Percent Change, 1991–2000 and 1999–2000," in Births: Final Data for 2000, National Vital Statistics Reports, vol. 50, no. 5, February 12, 2002

or adoption. A household, however, can be family or nonfamily, and is simply all persons who occupy a housing unit. Among family households, the proportion of married-couple families declined from 1970 to 2000 for both African-Americans and whites. In 1970, 89 percent of white families were married-couple families, compared to 81 percent in 2000. In 1970, 68 percent of African-American families were married-couple families; thirty years later, the rate had dropped to 47.8 percent. In 2000 there were 4.1 million black married-couple families. (See Table 2.6.)

The proportion of family households headed by females with no husband present has grown for both African-Americans and whites, from 28 percent in 1970 to 44 percent in 2000 for African-Americans, and from 9 percent to 13.9 percent for whites. In 2000, 8.4 million family households were headed by white women, and 3.8 million were headed by African-American women. (See Table 2.6.) Single mothers are frequently poorer and less educated than mothers in married-couple families.

Hispanic Families

Among Hispanic families in 2000, 67.9 percent were married-couple families, down from 69 percent in 1998. The proportion of female-headed family households was 23.4 percent in 2000. That year there were 1.8 million family households headed by Hispanic women, higher than the number of family and nonfamily households headed by Hispanic men. (See Table 2.6.) Among Hispanic subgroups, Cubans were the least likely to have never been married.

Asian and Pacific Islander Families

As with all other American families, the proportion of married families among API families has dropped—from 82 percent in 1990 to 79.6 percent in 2000. But in 2000, among the 2.5 million Asian-American family households, the proportion of married-couple family households was higher than that for any other minority race or ethnicity. (See Table 2.6.)

In addition, females with no spouse present headed only 13.2 percent of API families in 2000, far less than for African-Americans (44 percent) and Hispanics (23.4 percent), and less than whites (13.9 percent). API male householders with no spouse present accounted for 7.1 percent of all API families, a lower rate than their African-American (8.1 percent) and Hispanic (8.7 percent) counter-parts.

Family householdsNonfamily households
TotalTotalMarried coupleMale house-holderFemale house-holderTotalMale house-holderFemale house-holder
ALL HOUSEHOLDS87,67160,25148,7903,0818,38027,42012,20415,215
One member22,307----22,3079,19813,109
Two members30,14225,94320,9331,3333,6774,1992,3011,898
Three members13,83713,2219,6718822,668616478138
Four members12,79812,60310,9135081,18219514848
Five members5,6825,6204,910212498624913
Six members1,8371,8111,5049021727216
Seven or more members1,0661,053858571381385
Married, spouse present48,79048,79048,790-----
Married, spouse absent1,163461-159302701345356
Never married13,5263,110-1,1361,97410,4165,9734,444
ALL HOUSEHOLDS12,8498,6644,1447063,8144,1851,8762,309
One member3,605----3,6051,5802,025
Two members3,4363,0021,3173071,378434198236
Three members2,5252,4389981781,262875829
Four members1,7391,701938118645392414
Five members8988835126630415114
Six members4184122433113866-
Seven or more members229229136787---
Married, spouse present4,1444,1444,144-----
Married, spouse absent216131-27104854243
Never married4,1492,235-3841,8511,915941974
Asians and Pacific Islanders
ALL HOUSEHOLDS3,3372,5061,996179331831432399
One member625----625313311
Two members870714525751131578473
Three members63960446133110352510
Four members64563554041541064
Five members287282231133855-
Six members16616614989---
Seven or more members1051059187---
Married, spouse present1,9961,9961,996-----
Married, spouse absent11969-3237503812
Never married732214-105109518305213

(See Table 2.6.) In comparison, white males with no spouse present headed only 5.1 percent of white families.


Changes in the marital circumstances of adults naturally affect the living arrangements of children. High divorce rates, an increased delay in first marriages, and more out-of-wedlock births have resulted in fewer children living with two parents. In 2000, 69.1 percent of children under age eighteen were living with two parents (not necessarily both natural parents), compared to 77 percent in 1980 and 85 percent in 1970. (See Table 2.7.) The largest proportions of single-parent children were those living with a single, divorced, or widowed mother. Minority children have been particularly affected by these changes.

African-American Children

In 2000, 37.6 percent of African-American children under eighteen years old lived with both parents, 49 percent lived with their mothers only, and 4.2 percent lived

Family householdsNonfamily households
TotalTotalMarried coupleMale house-holderFemale house-holderTotalMale house-holderFemale house-holder
ALL HOUSEHOLDS9,3197,5615,1336581,7691,758974783
One member1,296----1,296666630
Two members1,9451,641989168484304184120
Three members1,7871,7061,009168529816120
Four members1,9391,8971,36216337142357
Five members1,2651,2469588220618136
Six members55854842040891010-
Seven or more members5295223953890761
Married, spouse present5,1335,1335,133-----
Married, spouse absent247164-61103826022
Never married1,807996-357639811516296
Note: Hispanics may be of any race.
source: Adapted from "Table H1. Households by Type, Tenure, and Race and Hispanic Origin of Householder: March 2000," in America's Families and Living Arrangement, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC, June 29, 2001 [Online] [accessed March 1, 2004]

with their fathers only. (See Table 2.7.) Approximately 9.2 percent lived with neither parent. In 1970 the proportions of African-American children who lived with one parent (31.8 percent) or two parents (58.5 percent) were virtually the reverse of their living arrangements in 2000. In addition, a disproportionate number of African-Americans are in foster care. According to the Urban League in its annual report, "The State of Black America 2003," African-Americans account for nearly half of the 550,000 children in the foster care system.

Hispanic Children

In 2000, 65.1 percent of Hispanic children under age eighteen were living with both parents, compared to 75.3 percent of white children. (See Table 2.7.) Nearly one-third (29.5 percent) of Hispanic children were living in one-parent situations, considerably more than among whites (21.6 percent), but well below the proportion for African-Americans (53.3 percent). Approximately 5.4 percent of Hispanic children lived with neither parent.

Asian-American Children

The Asian-American family is typically close-knit and respectful of the authority of the elder members of the family. As the younger generation becomes more assimilated into American culture, however, the unchallenged role of elders may not remain as strong. Yet overall, family tradition and honor are still held in high regard. In 2000 most Asian-American children under age eighteen (80.5 percent) were living with both parents. About 14 percent lived with their mothers only, while 2.5 percent lived with their fathers only. Approximately 2.9 percent lived with neither parent. (See Table 2.7.)

At a Disadvantage

Regardless of race or ethnicity, children who live with only one parent are likely to live in more economically disadvantaged circumstances than are children who live with two parents. Children living with one parent are more likely to have parents who are less educated, are unemployed, or have lower incomes.

Housing Grandchildren

Because of many factors, including the high cost of housing, substance abuse, and the inability of some parents to care for their children, many children are living with their grandparents. Among African-Americans, 5.2 percent of children under the age of eighteen lived with a grandparent and neither parent in 2000. The proportion of children who lived with a grandparent is significantly higher (12 percent) when children who live with a grandparent and one or both parents are added to that total. (See Table 2.7.)

Approximately 1.6 percent of Hispanic children under the age of eighteen lived with a grandparent and neither parent in 2000. The proportion jumped to 6.1 percent when children who live with a grandparent and one or both parents are added. Among APIs, less than 1 percent of children under the age of eighteen lived with a grandparent and neither parent in 2000. The proportion

Total United StatesTotal under 18 years1Under 1 year1-2 years3-5 years6-8 years9-11 years12-14 years15-17 yearsTotal under 6 years
All races
Both sexes In household
Living with both parents49,7952,6605,5398,3928,3218,7038,2457,93616,590
Living with mother only16,1628691,6712,5782,8292,9452,7052,5655,118
Living with father only3,0582183524504995375094931,020
Living with neither parent2,981121279446414508512702846
Not in household In group quarters15-4240226
Living with both parents
Child of householder48,9212,5655,3898,2058,1998,5918,1377,83616,159
Grandchild of householder5317310212177675932295
Other relative of householder32819496342454763131
Nonrelative of householder162-431256
Living with mother only
Child of householder13,2835341,2181,9932,3632,5282,3562,2923,744
Grandchild of householder1,7322703314002591911761051,001
Other relative of householder42045466354657473154
Nonrelative of householder72720761221531619996219
Living with father only
Child of householder2,670191305385409480456445881
Grandchild of householder2201132406133202383
Other relative of householder9210119920231030
Nonrelative of householder775416205111526
Living with neither parent3
Grandchild of householder1,35942118233206270246245394
Other relative of householder7993981108101121124226228
Foster child2191217333031603563
Other nonrelative of householder603286372768682196162
In group quarters
In group quarters15-4240226
Total United StatesTotal under 18 years1Under 1 year1-2 years3-5 years6-8 years9-11 years12-14 years15-17 yearsTotal under 6 yearsTotal 6-12 yearsTotal 12-17 years
Both sexes
In household
Living with both parents42,4972,3314,7557,2047,1887,3986,9526,66914,29014,58613,621
Living with mother only9,7655249341,4981,6611,7351,6901,7232,9553,3973,413
Living with father only2,427173282345385438408395801824803
Living with neither parent1,75275176266237269289440517507729
Not in household
In group quarters14-424012653
Living with both parents
Child of householder41,7952,2594,6407,0757,0857,3076,8526,57813,97314,39213,430
Grandchild of householder4045471836050543220811086
Other relative of householder281164443404044551038099
Nonrelative of householder162-43125647
Living with mother only
Child of householder7,9643196481,1231,3701,4781,4831,5442,0902,8483,026
Grandchild of householder9911591932521471019149604248140
Other relative of householder271303233373653509473104
Nonrelative of householder5391561911071216380167228143

climbs to 4.4 percent when children who live with a grandparent and also with one or more parents are added. Among whites, 1.2 percent of children under eighteen lived with a grandparent and neither parent in 2000. Of white children under eighteen, 4 percent lived with a grandparent, either with neither parent, one parent, or both parents. (See Table 2.7.)


For most Americans, owning one's home is the American dream. Unfortunately, for many Americans, especially minorities, being able to purchase a home can be difficult. Census Bureau figures revealed that in 2002, 74.5 percent of non-Hispanic white householders owned their homes, but only 47.3 percent of African-Americans,

Total United StatesTotal under 18 years1Under 1 year1-2 years3-5 years6-8 years9-11 years12-14 years15-17 yearsTotal under 6Total 6-11Total 12-17
White (continued)
Living with father only
Child of householder2,138153243294331395366357690725723
Grandchild of householder16311263035261620666136
Other relative of householder615115712155212021
Nonrelative of householder6552161351113241824
Living with neither parent3
Grandchild of householder6762467124106129113113215235226
Other relative of householder456245162555273139136107212
Foster child1407172017163725453362
Other nonrelative of householder480204160597266163121131229
In group quarters
In group quarters14-424012653
Both sexes
In household
Living with both parents4,2861714087066888047447651,2841,4931,509
Living with mother only5,5963226659341,0301,0698727041,9212,0991,576
Living with father only48431518380719077166151167
Living with neither parent1,0463685151154212194213273366407
Not in household
In group quarters1-----1---1
Living with both parents
Child of householder4,1921603896676787947447611,2151,4721,505
Grandchild of householder77101933861-62141
Other relative of householder16--634-4674
Living with mother
Child of householder4,6902075117548949337566371,4711,8271,392
Grandchild of householder64310213113088816448362169111
Other relative of householder11410122013272112424032
Nonrelative of householder148311313528328456340
Living with father only
Child of householder40326447053608367140113151
Grandchild of householder46-5111962316255
Other relative of householder236-21545879
Nonrelative of householder12-2-7--2272
Living with neither parent3
Grandchild of householder59914449188121123119149208242
Other relative of householder281152040446336637610699
Foster child735-131115209182629
Other nonrelative of householder93221711141523302538
In group quarters
In group quarters1-----1---1
Asians and Pacific Islanders
Both sexes
In household
Living with both parents2,454125329404373385424414858758838
Living with mother only42810366069808786106149173
Living with father only765913249611273317
Living with neither parent8861111781826291544
Living with both parents
Child of householder2,395117313389368376421410819745831
Grandchild of householder336121571-20121
Other relative of householder261514-1241915

48.2 percent of Hispanics, and 54.7 percent of APIs owned their homes. (See Table 2.8.) These numbers actually reflect significant growth in the purchase of homes by minorities. From 1994 to 2002 the home ownership rate for non-Hispanic whites grew from 70 percent to 74.5 percent, while for Hispanics it grew from 41.2 percent to 48.2 percent and for African-Americans it improved from 42.3 percent to 47.3 percent. During this same period, APIs' home ownership grew from 51.3 to 54.7 percent.

Growth of Home Ownership

A number of factors were responsible for the growth of minority home ownership in the 1990s. The Clinton administration helped to provide greater lending opportunities

Total United StatesTotal under 18 years1Under 1 year1-2 years3-5 years6-8 years9-11 years12-14 years15-17 yearsTotal under 6Total 6-11Total 12-17
Asians and Pacific Islanders (continued)
Living with mother only
Child of householder335132454273726978115142
Grandchild of householder622216205143202518
Other relative of householder2052-42-8668
Nonrelative of householder1120-2106236
Living with father only
Child of householder595811166211252213
Grandchild of householder9-1-81--18-
Other relative of householder7--2023-223
Nonrelative of householder0-----0---0
Living with neither parent3
Grandchild of householder29144545691011
Other relative of householder45-7424131611529
Foster child1------1--1
Other nonrelative of householder126-3---39-3
Both sexes
In household
Living with both parents7,5614579181,5311,3121,2431,1329682,9062,5552,100
Living with mother only2,9191623345244854974884301,020981918
Living with father only50651869587766247233164109
Living with neither parent626317795889683156203184239
Not in household
In group quarters2------2--2
Living with both parents
Child of householder7,2404118611,4611,2611,2141,0969352,7342,4752,031
Grandchild of householder1402824312414911823820
Other relative of householder17316333527132720854147
Nonrelative of householder82-4-1-1611
Living with mother only
Child of householder2,27094216382383426402367692809769
Grandchild of householder340448089463238122127850
Other relative of householder18121222628172939684568
Nonrelative of householder1283172727221813484931
Living with father only
Child of householder4023871826661414319112784
Grandchild of householder4559101065-24165
Other relative of householder4645279134121718
Nonrelative of householder1242-4-2-642
Living with neither parent3
Grandchild of householder1819283030332726676352
Other relative of householder251133335283931728167103
Foster child4725993119151120
Other nonrelative of householder1477112121211549404364
In group quarters
In group quarters2------2--2
- Represents zero or rounds to zero.
1All children under 18, excluding householders, subfamily reference people, and their spouses.
2Hispanics may be of any race.
3Includes ever married grandchildren under 18 (excluded prior to 1998).
source: "Table C2. Household Relationship and Living Arrangements of Children under 18 Years, by Age, Sex, Race, Hispanic Origin, and Metropolitan Residence: March 2000," in America's Families and Living Arrangements, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC, 2000

for minorities by revitalizing the Federal Housing Administration and improving enforcement of the Community Reinvestment Act, passed by Congress in 1977 to encourage banks and other lending institutions to invest in the communities in which they operate. Furthermore, the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development pressured the Federal National Mortgage Association (Fannie Mae) and Federal Home Loan Mortgage Corporation (Freddie Mac) to initiate programs to help minority and low-income borrowers in securing mortgages. Fannie Mae is a private company created by Congress in 1938 to improve the housing industry during the Great Depression. Its smaller counterpart, Freddie Mac, is a shareholder-owned company created by Congress in 1970 to support home ownership. Both Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac buy mortgages and package them into bonds backed

Race of housholderEthnicity of householder
Citizenship statusUnited States1White, totalNon-Hispanic whiteBlackAsian and Pacific IslanderHispanic (of any race)Non-Hispanic (of any race)
Native-born citizen3
1Total includes races not shown separately.
2Race was imputed beginning in 1996.
3Includes those born in Puerto Rico or outlying areas and those born abroad to American parents.
source: "Table 7. Homeownership Rates by Citizenship Status and Race and Ethnicity of Householder: 1994 to 2002," Moving to America—Moving to Homeownership: 1994 to 2002, U.S. Census Bureau, Washington, DC, 2003 [Online] [accessed March 11, 2004]

by the government and offered for sale to investors, thereby freeing up money for additional mortgage lending. In addition to these efforts, minority home ownership was also helped considerably by a strong economy and a robust stock market during the 1990s.

President George W. Bush also made minority home ownership a priority of his administration. In 2002 the president challenged the real estate industry to invest more than $1 trillion in an effort to increase the number of minority homeowners by at least 5.5 million families by the end of the decade. Acknowledging that many Americans can afford a monthly mortgage payment but lack the funds for a down payment, in 2003 the president signed the American Dream Downpayment Assistance Act, authorizing $200 million per year in down payment assistance to at least 40,000 low-income families. In January 2004 Fannie Mae announced that it planned to help 1.8 million minority families buy their first home in the next decade. Private-sector real estate lenders were likely to follow suit in targeting minorities, in part as a simple acknowledgment of changing times. As the baby boom generation, born in the years following World War II, begins to leave the workforce, and because of the low birth rate of native-born Americans, minority immigrants (dominated by Hispanics) are expected to play an increasing role in the economy. The 1990s saw a major influx of immigrants, who at first typically rent their homes, but later become factors in the for-sale market. It is estimated that ten million immigrants will reach their peak home-buying years during the next decade, making them a market to be courted by real estate lenders. Aside from the benefits enjoyed by the individual, an increase in the number of minority home owners iss likely to help entire communities, improving such areas as safety and the quality of schools.

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