About the book


During the past half century, marriage has declined throughout American society. Among those who do marry, the wife is more likely than ever to outearn or be better educated than her husband. Why have these changes occurred? How have they shaped intimate relationships?

Is Marriage for White People? answers these questions through an exploration of the lives of the black middle class. African Americans are the most unmarried group of people in our nation. Black women are more than three times as likely as white women never to marry. And when black women do marry, they are more likely than any other group of women to marry a man who is less educated or earns less than they do. In fact, more than half of college educated black wives have less educated husbands who are not.

While Banks highlights the implications of the black experience for people of all races, he also explores a puzzle particular to African Americans: Why, amid rising rates of interracial marriage, so few black women wed someone of a different race. Successful black women typically remain unmarried or marry down; they do not marry out.

Merging the best available scholarly research with the intimate personal stories of women and men throughout the nation, this unflinchingly honest and nuanced inquiry is essential reading for anyone who wants to understand the changing landscape of intimacy and family life in d American society.