Jacquelyne Johnson Jackson
We know relatively little as yet about aging among black women. We do know, however, that they grow old in different ways.
We also know that the median age of black women in the United States rose slightly from 1970 to 1974, an indication that more are living longer now than formerly, or that fewer are dying young. In 1970, there were almost 2.9 million black women who were 45 or more years of age. In 1974, their number had reached almost 3.1 million. The national trend toward an increasing number of older persons in the population is more pronounced among black women than black men.
Essentially, older black women as a group differ more in degree than in kind from other older women who are not black. In comparison to black and white men and white women, the socioeconomic status of black women remains lower ( Jackson, 1973b). It is unlikely that black women will achieve educational and economic parity with black and white men and white women by the end of this century. This paper, however, is not concerned with race/sex comparisons. Instead, it concentrates largely upon some demographic and familial characteristics of contemporary older black women.
About one-half of older black women reside in homes owned by them or their families. Most of these homes were built many years ago. During the past decade