Wednesday, August 12, 2009

HU Summit to Release U.S. Marriage Index

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 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.


  1. This is a much needed conference being plan for the end of September. I and my wife are Hampton graduates and have been married since our days at Hampton. I am very please to see Hampton and Ms. Malone-Colon lead this effort to document our current conditions and also I am also please to see them leading the charge to improvements. Maybe we can reverse the unhealthy trends because the African American community nation wide is in desperate need for reform in the area of marriage, family life and the raising of our children.

    Andre Ballard

  2. I heard the Prof. Malone-Colon and Eddie Long on NPR last week and like many in the last 30-some-odd-years, their perspective is limited to approaching the issue from a one dimensional, micro approach. The superficial reasons given by them for the black family condition is that men feel threatened, men being intimidated, men being incarcerated, unemployed/underemployed, etc. I predict that this initiative will fail like the others before it due to the organizers bias towards men and their loyalty to black feminism and western Christianity. The black family started its decline as the black feminist movement gained in popularity; there is a direct correlation. It is in the interest of capitalism that families are broken so that two incomes feed the consumerism needed by the capitalist system. And why did they not blame the black feminist propaganda campaign of black women not “needing a man”? Do they not believe that this philosophy contributes to out of wedlock births? As long as they adhere to bias and selective perception, this initiative won’t make it very far.

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