Dr. Linda Malone-Colon
Hampton, Va. – An index on the state of marriage in the U.S. will be released at the upcoming Hampton University National Summit on Marriage, Parenting and Families on Sept. 29-30. The U.S. Marriage Index uses specific measurement indicators to track the health of American marriages through the past forty years and assess areas of improvement for the future. This index is a product of a partnership between HU and the Institute for American Values.
More than 100 of the nation’s most diverse, influential leaders will be present for the unveiling at the HU National Summit on Marriage, Parenting and Families. The summit is a groundbreaking public conversation about marriage and families aimed at increasing the national conversation on the declining status of today’s marriages and the importance of healthy, effective parenting. The Summit will streamline live on the web at www.hamptonu.edu for the public.
“We’re really focused on raising awareness about the crisis of marriage in the U.S. But we’re also solutions focused, identifying what it is we can do to address this issue,” explained Dr. Linda Malone-Colon, chair of the Summit and director of the HU National Center on African American Marriages and Parenting (NCAAMP), to be launched at the Summit.
According to Malone-Colon, the number of married couples in the U.S. dropped from 72 percent in 1970 to 56 percent in 2004. In addition, nearly 40 percent of babies born in the U.S. in 2007 were delivered to unwed mothers, marking a more than 24 percent increase from five years earlier.
The statistics also support the need to take further efforts within the African-American community. Although all racial groups are showing increases in out-of-wedlock births, the percentage of unwed mothers differs from race to race. For example, while 29 percent of Caucasian women gave birth out-of-wedlock in 2007, more than 51 percent of Latinas and nearly 72 percent of black women did.
NCAAMP aims to strengthen African-American families by helping them gain essential knowledge, skills and other resources required for building and sustaining healthy marriages and practicing effective parenting.
“A U.S. marriage index that measures the health of marriage will help our society to determine what we are doing well and what we need to improve, so that more Americans might have the opportunity to grow up in a healthy marriage,” said Malone-Colon.