#ConversationStarter: A Changing Black Middle Class.

Doing some usual AM reading and stumbled upon this piece asking “where is the black middle class?”

The following is a snippet of what I read from CNN.com & Dr. Kris Marsh Ph.D.  Marsh is part of the faculty at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Where is the black middle class now, you ask? We are right here, but look demographically different than we did years ago.

My research clearly shows a compositional shift in the black middle class, away from married couples to single and living-alone households. Dovetailing with my research, we need to shift the way we talk and think about single, black professionals – both men and women, although women dominate the category.

The Love Jones Cohort nomenclature is based on the shift in the media portrayal of the black middle class, away from the Huxtables in “The Cosby Show” to the young, single, educated and black professionals in the film “Love Jones”, the show “Living Single” and more recently on VH1’s hit,Single Ladies.”

One question I often get when I talk about my research: How dramatic is the shift and presence of the Love Jones Cohort in the larger black middle class?

In 2000, 11% of black middle class households in the 25 to 54 range were Love Jones Cohort, up from 5% in 1980 – the group more than doubled its share of the black middle class, from 1980 to 2000. Additionally, the Love Jones Cohort made up the second-largest segment of the black middle class, behind married couples with children.

Meanwhile, married-couple households with children decreased their share of the black middle class. In fact, by 2000, they lost their status as the majority household type in the black middle class – 43% of black middle class households were married couples with children, down from 60% in 1980. If present trends persist, the Love Jones Cohort is on track to become the largest household type within the black middle class.

Read the full article here.

So let’s start a conversation:

Is this shift in the black middle class from a family unit to single unit a good thing?

Would you stay single and childless in hopes of attaining black middle class status or is family more important?

Comment below.

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