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Think. Discuss. Act. African American Culture

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African American Youth


(Download “African American Youth and Church Overview” as a PDF)

Jesse Jackson has said that by the time a child reaches age fifteen, he or she has

  • Watched 18,000 hours of TV.
  • Seen 700,000 murders in the media.
  • Listened to 20,000 hours of radio (mostly music).
  • Spent 11,000 hours in school.
  • Spent 3,000 hours in church.

Compared to spending only 14,000 hours in church and school, children spend about 40,000 hours watching or listening to the media.

Phil Donahue has compiled related statistics:

  • 55% Of black children are born to unmarried, often teenage, mothers.
  • 55% Of all black children have no father at home.
  • 8.3% Of all black children live with neither parent.
  • The 16% unemployment rate (conservative estimate) among black men is three times higher than for white men.
  • 48% Black teenage unemployment in 1982 compares to only 20.4% unemployment for white teens.
  • 34% Of all blacks lived below the poverty level in 1981 compared to only 11% of all whites.
  • Black families average only 56% of the income of white families.
  • Median income of a black, single mother head of household is $7,458.

Bill Moyer, citing the Children Defense Fund and United States Census Bureau, states that

  • The rate of birth for black teens is twice as much as for white teens.
  • 60% Of all black children are born out of wedlock.
  • Black women head 50% of all black families with children under the age of 18; white women head 15% of all similar white families.
  • 41% Of all black children are currently living with both parents; however, in 1960, three out of four black children lived with both parents.
  • 80% Of all white children currently live with both parents.
  • 70% Of all Hispanic children currently live with both parents.

It has been projected that by the year 2000, 70% of all black families will be headed by single women and 30% of all black men will be unemployed.


  1. Society must have the courage to face these facts. Those who would blame and those who tend to condone must join forces. Common goals that can be set involve encouraging more responsible individual action and providing more just opportunities. The growing rate of school dropouts, unemployment, and crime predicts a society that will not be able to compete in world markets.
  2. In an age that offers the potential for full employment, the United States faces the problem of children having children. Youth leaders must therefore encourage strong families and the establishment of responsible birth rates.
Dean Borgman

© 2018 CYS

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