Abstract

I analyze the prevalence of single motherhood among black and non-Hispanic white women in terms of differences in entry and exit. Higher initial entry rates among black women, especially through unpartnered childbearing, account for slightly more than half the difference between blacks and whites in the prevalence of single motherhood. The remainder of the difference is due to black single mothers’ much lower rates of exit through union formation and to their very high rates of reentry through dissolution of these later unions. Entry and exit rates through the 1990s imply a widening racial gap.

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