Marriage and incarceration:
No, I do not mean to compare marriage with incarceration.  Having experienced neither I would not feel qualified to have an opinion.  But there is an issue.  (Sex and the Single Black Woman, Lexington ECONOMIST vol. 395 no. 8677 April 10, 2010 page 36)  It has been proposed (The Logic of Life by Tim Harford and work by Kerwin Kroft Charles and Ming Ching Luoh)) that high incarceration rates for Black men in the United States is one of the reasons that the proportion of married black women in their thirties and early forties fell by something like one half between 1970 and 2007.

They controlled for race and geography and found that higher incarceration rates had a disproportionate effect on marriage.  For every man imprisoned there were more than two women who went unmarried.  The argument is that the women compete harder for the remaining men.  Of course there may be a lot of men who have the attitude that with women being so eager to find mates, they need not undertake the sacrifices of marriage.  Still it seems odd.  More effort in most things is expected to produce better results, not worse.

It is quite sad.  There are evidently a lot of lonely people out there, particularly among the less educated black women. 

It would have been interesting if the issue of fertility had been addressed at the same time.  It appears from the article that people tend to marry others of the same race, living nearby, and of comparable level of education. 

I discount race as being something of biological significance except sometimes for medical purposes, but I think it fair to say there is a social reality to it.  The biological fact is that in the United States the birth rate of those whose ancestors have been in the country for generations, and that certainly would be the majority of Blacks, the birth rate is on average quite low.  Those with more experience in such things say it is not that low among Black people, but I find it hard to believe they have escaped altogether.  The enormous black families I saw as a child I no longer observe. 

I have no evidence to offer, but if one were willing to impute evil intent to those responsible for a high rate of incarceration of Black men, the logic does come to mind: “Well if he’s in jail he’s not home making babies.”  It is to be hoped that such an attitude is only a logical possibility, not a motivator of action.  If it is, it is setting itself up for the failure it deserves.  The dating pool, already restricted in a number of ways is still too large for just about everybody.  Restricting it further by such objectionable means would result in more fertility, not less.

In fact I take no comfort in such a line of argument.  That still leaves all those lonely women.  If someone is moved to take up the cudgel on behalf of them, possibly there is a line of logic here that might be useful. 

There have been 4,236 visitors so far.  That is fewer than yesterday.  Oh well.  That was an article on paranoia, wasn’t it? 

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