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Navigation menu Personal tools English. John notes that evidence suggests rising nonmarital fertility rates for American Indians, but explains that out-of-wedlock childbearing is relatively common among this group and is not met with particularly negative attitudes, although childbirth within marriage is still the norm. In , 58 percent of American Indian births were to unmarried women.
As with. Although there is little information available about out of wedlock childbearing among Asian and Pacific Islander women, in , 17 percent of babies in this group were born out of wedlock National Center for Health Statistics, Marital patterns have moved away from traditional models in the last half-century. The median age at first marriage is one of the changing aspects. Since , it has risen 21 percent for women and 17 percent for men for all race groups. This delay in marriage has been offset by a rise in rates of cohabitation.
Young couples are still living together, but there has been a decrease in the legalization of these unions Taylor et al. Table 3—7 shows the percentage distribution of marital status from to The percent of persons married in had fallen 9 percent from levels; the percent divorced had risen substantially.
Despite a slight decrease after , there were more than three and one-half times as many persons divorced in than there were in Cherlin points out that divorce rates have been rising steadily since The rate of increase slowed in the s only to pick up again in the early s and rise to historic highs by the early s, when rates began to level off. For Blacks, the median age at first marriage is roughly parallel to that of Whites, according to census data. Historically, Blacks have married at younger ages than Whites, but more recently the groups have traded places and now Blacks marry at somewhat older ages than Whites.
Throughout their lives, Black women spend less time married than do their White counterparts. According to to rates, Black women could expect to spend 16 years of a year life span married, whereas White women could expect to spend 33 out of their 77 years married. This year difference increased from an year difference based on to rates Jaynes and Williams, Jaynes and Williams suggest that Black women may feel less pressure than White women to marry or to stay married for financial support because of the poor economic status of Black men.
It is also possible that the inner-city environment in which a larger portion of Blacks reside may exert less social pressure to enter, or remain in, marital situations; most of the increase in the percentage of unmarried people. In contrast, for Whites, the increase is primarily the result of rising rates of divorce and decreasing rates of remarriage Taylor et al. Blacks are also less likely than Whites to remarry after a divorce. Only one-third of Black women remarry within 10 years of a separation Taylor et al. As with the general population, the number of Blacks cohabiting has increased, as have rates of divorce and separation.
This has led to a marriage gap that grew from a 5 percent difference between Blacks versus Whites and Hispanics in , to an almost 30 percent difference in , when As regards trends in intermarriage, Black women are slightly more likely than White women to marry outside their race. The percentage of Black women married to non-Black men increased from 0. In , the number of Black men married to Black women was approximately equal to the number of Black women married to Black men; since then, interracial marriages among Black men increased relatively sharply.
In , 6. As with other topics, fewer data on Hispanic marital trends are available than for Whites and Blacks, although it has traditionally been assumed that marriage and family relationships are more important and therefore more stable for Hispanics relative to non-Hispanics Bean and Tienda, Bean and Tienda found that marital patterns for Cubans were much like those of non-Hispanic Whites by , but that Mexicans married earlier and in higher percentages than Whites.
However, among Hispanics in general they found no evidence of lower rates of marital instability, and concluded that the assumption of stronger familial importance among Hispanics was probably not valid. Rather, Hispanics have followed the general trend away from traditional marriage patterns. The rate of interracial marriage among Hispanics has traditionally been far above that of Whites or Blacks. Jaffe et al. Cubans have the highest rate of intermarriage, followed by Mexicans, with Puerto Ricans being the least likely to marry non-Hispanics.
Hispanic women have intermarried more than Hispanic men; however, unlike Blacks and Whites, levels of interracial marriage for Hispanics have changed little since and, if anything, have decreased. Although data on the marital patterns of American Indians are limited, some conclusions can be drawn. In , the median age at first marriage for both men and women was slightly lower than that for Whites. Throughout the past 50 years, American Indians have had a higher percentage of single persons and a lower percentage of married persons than the total U.
The gap for percentage of persons married has widened since The percent married has dropped 9 percent for all races but 18 percent for American Indians. However, it is difficult to draw conclusions from these data because of changes in the self-identification patterns of American Indians.
The general trends of higher rates of never-married and divorced persons have probably been reflected in the American Indian population, as well as the rise in the age at first marriage Sandefur and Liebler, The to percentages of American Indians divorced indicate a slower rate of increase relative to the total United States, but absolute differences grew simply because American Indians started with a higher percent of divorced persons. American Indians have a long history of intermarriage with Whites Sandefur and Liebler, ; John, and have had the highest rate of interracial marriage of all the groups, at almost all times over the last half-century; more women have married non-American Indians than men.
The rates of intermarriage among American Indians increased substantially from to In , American Indians were involved in 27 percent of all intermarriages Sandefur and Liebler, In , almost 60 percent of married American Indians had non-American Indian spouses; but this increase, too, may be partially the result of shifting self-identification.
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The Census data show that Asian men and women marry much later than the general U. Data in Table 3—7 show that for and , a larger percentage of Asians were single than was the case for the overall population. Although changing racial definitions make trends difficult to read, the percentage of single Asian persons appears to have remained fairly constant.
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Asians historically have had lower divorce rates than the general population, and rates for Asian immigrants are lower than for U. Rates of interracial marriage for Asians are quite high, closer to those of Hispanics than Blacks and Whites. Among Asians, Japanese women have had especially high rates of marriage to non-Asian men.
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It appears that most Asian groups have had increasing rates of intermarriage over time, although rates for Chinese men have declined. Again, changes in racial classifications make trends difficult to interpret. Increasing rates of divorce and out-of-wedlock childbearing have resulted in a proliferation of children living with only one parent, usually the mother.
The data in Table 3—9 show that for the total population, the percentage of children younger than age 18 living with both parents declined from The percentage of children living with only their mother more than tripled during this time period. Cherlin points out that divorced mothers had historically moved in with other family members, but this trend has declined in recent decades. Cherlin and McLanahan and Sandefur note that single parents frequently do not have enough time or resources for their children.
McLanahan and Sandefur find evidence that children from single-parent homes are at increased risk for dropping out of high school, and girls are more likely to become teen. The consequences are somewhat less harmful for Blacks and Hispanics than for Whites, however McLanahan and Sandefur, Black children are much more likely to reside in a single-parent home than White children, as has been the case throughout the last 50 years.
The percentage of Black children living with both parents decreased by half, from 67 percent in to 33 percent in Between and , the percentage of White children living with both parents also fell, but by 15 percent, compared to 43 percent for Black children. By , a little more than half of Black children lived with their mother only. Some sociologists, such as E. Franklin Frazier, have theorized that Black family structure is a pathological result of forced family disorganization during slavery and the subsequent marginalization of Blacks in America see, e.
Cherlin , however, concludes that differing family patterns result from differential experiences of Black and White families in cities. Farley and Allen conclude that economic status and cultural values influence the Black family structure. The percentages of Hispanic children living with both parents range between the rates for Black and White children, with the percentages of single-parent families having increased by 19 percent between and Within Hispanic ethnic groups, Bean and Tienda find that Cubans have the lowest rates of families headed by single females, with Mexicans at a slightly higher rate.
Puerto Rican rates are much higher, approximately double those of Cubans and Mexicans, and similar to those of Blacks. American Indians have also experienced an increase of single-parent families. Their rates are higher than for Hispanic but lower than for Black children. The rate of decrease of children with both parents has paralleled that of Hispanics. Sandefur and Liebler point out that there is significant variation among American Indian tribes as regards single-parent families, but rates on all reservations are higher than those for Whites. Asian populations have also experienced increases in the number of single-parent families, but not to the same degree as other racial and ethnic groups.
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In , the percentage of Asian Japanese children living with both parents was similar to that of Whites; but there was an 8 percent drop over the next 25 years, compared to a 15 percent drop for non-Hispanic Whites. Bureau of the Census c: Table 1; c: Table 4; d: Table 3; e: Tables 3 and 18; Table 66; b: Table 8; Table 6 and 15; b: Table 2; Table 2; Table 81 ; Russell page 18 ; Shinagawa and Jang page There has been a move away from traditional fertility and family behaviors; out-of-wedlock childbearing, divorce, single-parent families, and later marriage have all increased; and differences in fertility rates and family patterns between racial and ethnic groups persist.
Racial and ethnic mortality differences are determined by calculating life expectancies and death rates. These measures give information about the average length of life, but not the average quality of life. To help explicate reasons behind mortality patterns, researchers analyze infant mortality and causes of death. Many researchers question the accuracy of the racial and ethnic identity items on vital statistics records Hahn, ; Hahn et al. In addition, death registration data have shown problems of misclassification.
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