Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Family Sciences (MSFS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Family Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Claudia J. Heath


This study explores the desire to marry, marriageable mate criteria, and marital choices/options as they pertain to college-educated, African American women within today’s society. A purposive, nationally based sample (N = 95) of never married, college-educated, African American women (i.e., 18 to 40 years of age) was gathered via an online survey accessed by an emailed link. A mixed methods approach was utilized within the survey design, followed by data analyses (i.e., frequencies, two-way analyses) interpreted through a theoretical framework of social exchange. Areas discussed include life goals of marriage, cohabitation, and career; romantic barriers; the perceived availability of marriageable men; and desired traits for a marriageable mate. Partner traits assessed ranged from being character based (e.g., respectful, spiritual, swag, never incarcerated), and were broadened to include educational, financial, and ethnic preferences for a potential partner. Findings showed that respondents possessed a strong desire to marry, the greatest hindrance to entering a relationship was the lack of mates, and many were interested in looking for a potential partner outside of their own ethnicity. Findings were not statistically significant; however, the insight gained further informs this understudied area of research while having broad socio-cultural implications for families and communities.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)