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Households headed by single-Black men increased in 2012

By Frederick H. Lowe - Editor - The North Star News & Analysis | Last updated: Sep 9, 2013 - 8:36:12 AM

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The number of single-Black men heading households increased in 2012, compared to 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but the number is still much smaller than homes headed by single-Black women.

Last year, 566,000 households were headed by single-Black men, a 9.7 percent increase compared to the 511,000 households headed by single-Black men in 2011, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Families and Living Arrangements.

The number of households headed by single-Black men in 2011, however, was a drop compared to 2010, when 555,000 households were headed by single-Black men. The number in 2010, however, is a major increase from 2009 when 466,000 households headed by single Black fathers, according to the Census Bureau.

The number of households headed by single-Black men, however, is small compared to households headed by single-Black women.

In 2012, 3.8 million single Black women headed homes, a 2.8 percent increase compared to 3.7 million households headed by single Black women in 2011, according to the Census.

The growth in Black fathers heading households is often overlooked, deliberately in some cases, because of claims—some justified, others unchallenged—that Black men don’t care about their children.

The Pew Research Social Change and Demographic Changes reported last July as did the Economic Policy Institute reported nearly a year earlier that there has been a rise in homes headed by single fathers.

In its study titled, “The Rise of Single Fathers,” Pew reported that in 2011  15 percent of single fathers were Black. Twenty-eight percent of single mothers are Black.

The article, which is subtitled, “A Ninefold Increase (in single fathers) Since 1960,” reported that in 1960, there were fewer than 300,000 households headed by single men and that the number increased to 2.6 million in 2011.

Television recognized the growth of single fathers by broadcasting popular situation comedies like “Bachelor Father” and “My Three Sons.” In both cases the single men headed the households, sometimes with the help of a housekeeper or an elderly relative.

The growth in the number of single households headed by single women has been more dramatic, according to Pew Research. In 1960, 1.9 million households were headed by single women but by 2011, the number increased to 8.6 million.

Dr. Algernon Austin of the Economic Policy Institute, published a study in September 2012, which reported that in 2011, there were 5.7 million Black families with children under 18 years old, and 8.5 percent, or 486,000 families, were headed by single-Black men.

The Census Bureau has since revised the 486,000 figure upward to 511,000.

Dr. Austin, who is director of the Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy, also noted the poverty rate for families headed by single-Black fathers has declined since 2010 while the poverty rates for households headed by single-White and Asian men increased.

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