The Memphis Flyer: Husband Wanted. Unemployed Need Not Apply.

My most recent column in The Memphis Flyer, on the shortage of marriageable men in Memphis:

If you want to destroy a community, someone once told me, take away the men’s jobs. To make a man’s job search nearly impossible, burden him with a criminal record…

In a recent Pew Research Center survey, never-married women were asked what they wanted most in a spouse. Nearly 80 percent answered that tops on their list was a partner with a steady job. But in the Memphis metro area, there are only 59 employed young men for every 100 young single women, making this one of the worst places to find a marriageable (read: employed) man.

Since the criminal justice system disproportionately ensnares black men, it has an outsized effect on a predominately African-American metro area such as Memphis. The causes of the area’s endemic poverty are many, but employment for ex-offenders is essential to the metro area’s success.

For those who aren’t familiar with the Gwen Guthrie diddy, “Ain’t Nothing Going On But The Rent,” check out the YouTube video above. No romance without finance, y’all.