There are considerable challenges facing black families in the 21st century, all of which impact upon the form that parenting takes within them.
The following facts highlight the ways in which some of these challenges lead to various experiences of inequality - from educational disadvantage to unemployment - and the impact this can have on boys and young men in particular.
Overall these facts will demonstrate that black fatherhood remains a much-overlooked area requiring policy attention.
- Children in the UK are more likely to go to their mothers for help with a problem with only 1 in 10 approaching their fathers
- Fathers in the UK generally tend to work longer hours than men without children whilst working the longest average hours in Europe
- While unemployment has decreased for all groups since 1991, 15 per cent of black Caribbean men and 14 per cent of black African men are unemployed compared to 5 per cent of their white British counterparts
- All black and minority ethnic groups are currently living on lower incomes that white groups and amongst working families 30 per cent of black Africans are in low income employment compared to just 10 per cent of white British families.
- Those from some black and minority ethnic groups are also more likely to live in poverty than other groups. Though affecting those from Bangladeshi and Pakistani groups far more than any other, 45 per cent of black African and 30 per cent of black Caribbean individuals currently live in poverty
- Pupils, from across all black groups continue to experience various degrees of educational disadvantage, as although the average for all pupils has narrowed for those achieving 5 or more A*-C grades at GCSE, all black and mixed white and black Caribbean heritage pupils are consistently below the national average across Key Stages 1,2, and 4
- In 2007 to 2008 black Caribbean pupils were three times more likely to be permanently excluded from school than their white counterparts.
- While BME students are going on to university in increasing numbers, making up 17.2 per cent of those in higher education in 2007 to 2008, only 16 per cent of all black Caribbean men go to university
- Of those who are in higher education, whereas 66.4 per cent of white students gained a first class or upper second class degree at university, only 37.7 per cent of black students did the same
- Black people make up 15 per cent of the current prison population, despite amounting to only 2.2 per cent of the national population, marking Britain’s penal system as more unequal than that of the USA
- Young black men are nearly 8 times as likely to be stopped and searched as their white counterparts
- Between a quarter and a third of all children with separated parents have little or no contact with their fathers
- 59 per cent of black Caribbean, 44 per cent of black African children and 61 per cent of children in mixed race households grow up in single parent families, while the overall proportion of children in the UK living with a lone parent is 22 per cent. Nine in ten lone parent families are headed by a woman
- African Caribbean fathers are twice as likely as white fathers to live apart from their children. However by the time their children are 5 years old more than 40 per cent are still living with them despite the categorising of many of their partners as ‘lone parent’ at the time of their baby’s birth
- As with fathers from other backgrounds, many African Caribbean fathers who may not be resident with the mothers of their children continue to remain involved in parenting
- Rates of teenage motherhood are significantly higher among young black women and despite constituting only 3 per cent of the population aged 15 – 17, they accounted for 9 per cent of all abortions given to women under the age of 18