Redefining Family: Dr. Kris Marsh's - The Love Jones Cohort-Single and Living Alone in the Black Middle Class

Traditionally, being happy and successful as an adult meant having a spouse, children, a career and a home.  However, the definition of what makes a family is evolving. A significant number of today's households include single adults with or without children.  Dr. Marsh's book, The Love Jones Cohort, Single and Living Alone in the Black Middle Class, studies the lifestyles of a segment of the population who made good educational and financial decisions, but who are living single. Instead of seeing their singlehood as basis of society wondering, "What's wrong with you?" Dr. Marsh aims to remove the stigma of living single and encourages single people to enjoy their lives. Per Dr. Marsh, "I'm just trying to destigmatize singlehood."  Let's discuss....

Dr. Marsh explained that for the members in the cohort, the Black men felt that it was just a matter time before they found a mate. On the contrary, the Black women were hopeful that finding a mate might happen. In other words, the Black men saw their singleness as temporary, but the Black women saw their singleness as possibly permanent (Marsh, Live Well Sister, 2023).  Therefore, this blog concentrates on a single Black woman's perspective . 

Black Women Want Love

To be clear, I have never met a single Black female who did not want to be in a healthy romantic relationship.  I cringe whenever I read comments stating that Black women went to college to prove that "They don't need no man!" It is quite the opposite.  Most Black women, whom I have met, started planning their families as children.  They played with dolls and had little 'mini me' kitchens to play cook. They wanted to have boyfriends who would turn into husbands.  Black women go to college to get an education and to be financially independent.  It costs money to live and pay bills, right?  

The Love Jones Cohort

Dr. Marsh's Love Jones Cohort comprised of 62 single Black adults - 43 women and 19 men. The ages were 25 to 56, with the mean age being 38. To be included in the group, you also had to own a house, be in the upper middle class, not have children and never have been married.  What was noteworthy in this group, is the men expected that their singleness was temporary, whereas the women thought their singleness could be permanent.  Why the differences? 

Due to biology, women have a limited time to have children; men can have children their entire life. Women and men have different values when looking for a mate.  Online dating works for some people, but it is risky.   According to Dr. Marsh, "Structural forces constrain our personal choices." 

Black Marriage Statistics

According to the Pew Research Center, Black Americans are less likely than other Americans to be married (Key Facts About the Nation's 47.9 million Black Americans, January 18, 2024).  Among Black adults, 36% of the men are married, compared with 29% of women. To complete the percentage, this means 64% of Black men are not married, and 71% of Black women are not married. These statistics do not factor those people who are engaged or have a significant other, but it does prove that a large numbers of Black Americans are living a single lifestyle.

Value All Types of Relationships

Romantic relationships are only one type of relationship. Dr. Marsh encourages singles to invest in non-romantic relationships such as friendships with both men and women. Singles may find community in civic and social groups such as sororities, fraternities, athletic groups and religious groups. As humans, we are social nature. As such, it is important that we maintain social connections.  

A Family of One

Singles are often assumed not to have family values, which is not true. When a popular single Black woman ran for a high political office, the Internet was abuzz with 'Where is her man?' and "We want someone with family values!"  She lost the race.  Could a single, or never married, person be President? Governor?  In reality, single people are here and will always be.  Should their political options be limited because they are not married? Should singles pay more taxes?  Now is the time to redefine family to include a family of one.

Live Well, Sister!

In this interview, Dr. Marsh discusses her book, which is excellent.  I highly recommend your read it.

Enjoy Your Life, Single or Married!

The Love Jones Cohort Single and Living Alone in the Black Middle Class is a love letter to single people. It is an affirmation that there is nothing wrong with living single. It is better to be single than to be married to the wrong person.  Truthfully, marriage might not be for everyone.  

Therefore, don't take your blessings for granted. Have gratitude for what you have accomplished. Love yourself! Be active and take care of your health. Volunteer in the community. Be a mentor. Participate in social activities. Cultivate a support system with male and female friends. AND, when you meet the right person to share your life with, be in love and enjoy!

                                                                      Live your life!

The Greatest Love of All


Live Well, Sister, courtesy of  YouTube.

Children's Network:,3.8%25%20resided%20with%20neither%20parent.

Dr. Marsh's quotes, courtesy of YouTubeLive Well, Sister! with Marcie L. Thomas, featuring Dr. Kris Marsh.

Pew Research Center - Key Facts About the Nation's 47.9 Million Black Americans, Retrieved from,