Revisioning Black/White Multiracial Families: The Single-Parent Experience

Revisioning Black/White Multiracial Families: The Single-Parent Experience

American Sociological Association,
Atlanta Hilton Hotel, Atlanta, Georgia
2003-08-16
18 pages, 5,006 words

Rachel Sullivan

In the literature on Black/White multiracial families, there is a significant group of families missing from most research. These are households that are lead by a single parent of a biracial child. While data on the relative prevalence of single parenthood in multiracial populations is sparse, my research indicates that a significant percentage of multiracial families are headed by single parents. Nearly half of the Black/White biracial infants and toddlers in my study where born to a unmarried parent (National Maternal and Infant Health Survey 1988, 1991). This study also indicates that these families are much like other single parent families demographically. In most cases they fall somewhere between black and white single parent households; however, in areas where there are differences they tend to be closer to African American families.

…Since so much of the research is narrowly focused on identity and marriage,¬† single parents of biracial children, who are divorced, widowed, or never married, are rarely discussed. One reason this group is overlooked is because of the methodological¬† techniques used to analyzed multiracial families. Research on marriage uses often uses Census data to find intermarried couples; however, the level of analysis is generally the couple, so married couples are identified and then sorted into various racial combinations. Since so much of the research is narrowly focused on identity and marriage,¬† single parents of biracial children, who are divorced, widowed, or never married, are¬† rarely discussed. One reason this group is overlooked is because of the methodological¬† techniques used to analyzed multiracial families. Research on marriage uses often uses Census data to find intermarried couples; however, the level of analysis is generally the couple, so married couples are identified and then sorted into various racial combinations…

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