Diversity Among Singles
Never-married singles who remain single by choice may be more interested in opportunities for a career (especially for women), find readily-available sexual partners without marriage, believe that the single lifestyle is full of excitement, or have a desire for self-sufficiency and freedom to change and experiment (Stein, 1976, 1981).According to some marriage and family analysts, individuals who prefer to remain single typically hold more-individualistic values and are less family oriented than those who choose to marry. They also tend to value friends and persona! growth more highly than getting married and having children (Cargan and Melko. 1982; Alwin, Converse, and Martin, 1985). Other never-married singles remain single out of necessity. For some people. being single is an economic necessity: They simply cannot afford to marry and setup their own.household. Structural changes in the economy limit the options of young people from working-class and low-income family backgrounds. Even some college graduates have found that they cannot earn enough money to set up a separate household away from their parents. Consequently, a growing proportion of young adults are living with one or both parents. Approximately 13 percent of young adults between the ages of 25 and 34 reside with their parents; 16 percent of men live with their parents, as compared with 9 percent of women. According to one young man who lived at home, The rent is low and utilities are free. There is hot food on the table and clean socks in the drawer. Mom nags a little and dad scowls a lot, but mostly they don't get in the way. And there's money left at the end of the month for a car payment. (qtd. in Gross, 1991: AI) The proportion of singles varies significantly by racial and ethnic group, as shown in Among persons age 15 and over, 40.8 percent of African Americans have never married, compared with 30.1 percent of Latinos/as, 26.8 percent of Asian and Pacific Islander Americans, and 22.6 percent of whites. Among women age 20 and over, the difference is even' more pronounced; 'almost twice as many African American women in this age category have never married, compared with US. women of the same age in general (US. Census Bureau, 2008). Social scientists have found that five primary faclors contribute to the lower marriage rate of African American women:
I. There are more African American women than men in the United States as a result of the high rate of mortality among young African American men (Staples, 1994). In addition, college-educated African American women significantly outnumber college- educated African American men and tend to earn more money than the men (Lichter. LeClere, and Mclaughlin, 1991; Roberts. 1994; Staples. 1994).
2. African American males who have been subjected to discriminatory practices and limited opportunities may perceive that their only economic options are to serve in the mill participate in criminal activity. thus making them poor candidates for marriage (Staples. 1994).
. 3. A higher rate of homosexuality exists among African American men than among women (Staples. 1994). .
4. More African American men than women marry members of other racial-ethnic groups (Staples. 1994). . .
5. Working-class African American families often stress education for their children and encourage their daughters to choose education over marriage
(Higginbotham, 1991;Higginbotham and Weber.1995). Although a number of studies have examined why African Americans remain single. few studies have focused on Latinos/as. Some analysts cite the diversity of experiences among Mexican Americans. Cuban Americans, and Puerto Ricans as the reason for this lack of research. Existing research attributes increased rates of singlehood among Latinas/os to several factors, including the youthful age of the Latino/a population and the economic conditions experienced by many young Latinas Os (see Mindel. Habenstein, and Wright. 1988).