The literature on the black middle class has focused predominantly on married-couple families with children, reflecting a conception of the black middle class as principally composed of this family type. If that conception is correct, then declining rates of marriage and childrearing would imply a decline in the presence and vitality of the black middle class. Indeed, this is the implication that researchers typically draw from the decline in black marriage rates. However, an alternative view suggests that the decline in marriage and childrearing is producing a shift in the types of households comprising the black middle class. This paper assesses – and affirms – that alternative view. This research shows that, indeed, never-married singles who live alone (Love Jones Cohort) constitute a rapidly growing segment of the black middle class, a development which requires rethinking how the black middle class is conceptualized and studied.


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pp. 735-762
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