The Black Family Is Worse Off Today Than In the 1960′s, Report Shows

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The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI) is a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of
15 denominations and 15.7 million African Americans is committed to bringing African American men
back to church. NBCI, in partnership with major black religious leaders and denominations nationwide,
believe that African American men have nowhere to go but back to church. Given the serious issues
facing African American men, including rising levels of incarceration, drug use and unwed fatherhood –
we can no longer stand by while our men openly defy God’s word.
This program is a part of NBCI’s Healing Family Initiative, programming which seeks to bolster African
American families against the tide of violence, poverty, moral depravity, and failure. It is time for the
majority of African Americans to follow the examples set by successful African American families; the
Obama’s being a shining beacon of accomplishment, and reverse trajectory of the African American
family.

NBCI’s Education Initiative is a holistic approach – a whole family
program wherein we also account for all of the adverse socio-economic factors impacting student
achievement and family structure.

African Americans represent the strongest church attendance and affiliation amongst all ethnicities in
the United States. According to the Pew Forum 2007 survey, people of black ethnicity were most likely
to be part of a formal religion, with 85% being Christians. However, according to the Barna Research
Group, a Christian research firm based in Ventura, Calif., more than 90% of American men believe in
God, and 5 out of 6 call themselves Christian. But only 2 out of 6 attend church on any given Sunday.
This means that in America, 60% of church attendees are women.

Black women overwhelming outnumber black men in regular church attendance. While black men may
believe in God, in most cases it ends with belief. If single black women are attending church regularly
and following the guidelines that the church has put in place and the black men are not, what does this
say about the future of the black family?

Our focus is to open our doors, arms and hearts to understand the complex sociological and
psychological factors that prohibit African American men from being consistent churchgoers, better
fathers, less abusive spouses and better members of society.

As a religious leader in the African American community for the past twenty years, we take our position as a moral authority very seriously.

NBCI believes that the first step for our African American brothers is to return to church – atoning for
their sins and reestablishing their relationship with God through Christ. Over the next ten years we will
develop comprehensive ministries to sustain this initiative and commit African American men to the
path of righteousness.

According to a report released by the Urban Institute, the state of the African-American family is worse today than it was in the 1960′s. Before you become offended and charge, “What about the White family?!” The report also discloses that families of all ethnicities are showing a decline; however, the African-American household has suffered the worst decline.

In 1950, 17 percent of African-American children lived in a home with their mother but not their father. By 2010 that had increased to 50 percent. In 1965, only eight percent of childbirths in the Black community occurred out-of-wedlock. In 2010 that figure was 41 percent; and today, the out-of-wedlock childbirth in the Black community sits at an astonishing 72 percent. The number of African-American women married and living with their spouse was recorded as 53 percent in 1950. By 2010, it had dropped to 25 percent.

The original report titled ”The Negro Family: The Case for National Action,” was released in 1965 by the late New York Sen. Daniel Moynihan. Moynihan, who was the assistant labor secretary at the time of the report’s release, laid out a series of statistics on the African-American family. Moynihan, in his report’s conclusion declared, “at the heart of the deterioration of the fabric of Negro society is the deterioration of the Negro family. It is the fundamental source of the weakness of the Negro community at the present time.” Sadly, the outlook of the African-American family is more bleak than when Moynihan wrote his conclusion.

“An analysis of national data indicates that little progress has been made on the key issues Moynihan identified,” wrote Gregory Acs, of the Urban Institute, in a statement released with the report. “Further, many of the issues he identified for Black families are now prevalent among other families.” The Urban Institute’s report also added to the original scope of the Moynihan report to include the rate of incarceration, employment, and educational attainment in the African-American community. “Since the Moynihan report was released, another major social trend has put further strains on Black families — the mass incarceration of Black men,” Acs said. “By 2010, about one out of every six Black men had spent some time in prison, compared with about 1 out of 33 white men.”

A demographic breakdown by race was not available for the 1965 report, but numbers beginning in 1974 showed disproportionate numbers of African-American men being sent to prison. In 1974, it was nine percent of Black men compared to one percent of white men. By 2010, that had risen to 16 percent of Black men and three percent of white men. The report did note that number has started to decline slightly among Black men.

Unemployment for African-American men remains more than twice as high as among white men. For white men in 1954, unemployment was zero. For African-American men in 1954, it was about 4 percent. By 2010 it was 16.7 percent for African-American men and 7.7 percent for white men. In 1954, 79 percent of African-American men were employed. By 2011 that had decreased to 57 percent. For Black women the numbers rose. In 1954, 43 percent of African-American women had jobs. By 2011 that had risen to 54 percent. The trend among African Americans was mirrored among whites, but in both cases white men and women fared better in terms of employment. Although the earnings gap between African-Americans and their white peers has narrowed, it still persists with Black men earning about 70 percent what white men do. In 1960, Black men earned about 60 percent what white men did.

There is one area of improvement: High school graduation. In 1964, fewer than half of African-American students finished high school. That compared to roughly 70 percent of white students. That has since risen to about 85 percent for both Blacks and whites. But, the number of Black students that repeat grades or were suspended was higher than for whites. Half of Black male students have been suspended, compared to 21 percent of whites.

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