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And they have about the same levels of education and income as do African Americans, who marry less often and later, and divorce more often.We are not entirely sure if personal factors, such as individual ambition associated with migration, or cultural factors like Latino familism—things our data analysis does not completely capture—account for this Hispanic paradox.

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In many ways the broad contours of white and Latino family life are similar.

This raises the question of what scholars have called the Hispanic paradox: the fact that Latinos are healthier than one might expect, given their economic status in American society.

Our book suggests that this paradox extends to family life.

Latinos are about as likely to marry, stay married, and enjoy a happy relationship as are whites in the United States.

The median age at first marriage is 25 for Latinas and white women, but 31 for African American women.

Likewise, only 35 percent of Latinos divorce within the first ten years of marriage, compared to 39 percent of whites and 52 percent of African Americans.The paradox resides in the fact that Latinos generally have less education and income than do whites.Our new book Soul Mates: Religion, Sex, Love and Marriage among African Americans and Latinos paints a largely positive portrait of African American and Latino family life in the United States, especially compared to some contemporary accounts.We find that most African Americans and Latinos will marry at some point in their lives, most of them are married or in a live-in relationship when they have children, and most black and Latino couples are happy and faithful.When it comes to “family values,” a clear majority of blacks and Latinos value marriage above single living, and they are also more likely than whites to oppose premarital sex.Moreover, the vast majority abides by a “code of decency” (a term coined by Yale sociologist Elijah Anderson) that encompasses employment, steering clear of drug use, and avoiding incarceration; this code furnishes a social and economic context that fosters a strong family life.

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