Single Parent Statistics

by Robin Bright

in Single Parenting

Many single parents think they are alone in the world. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth.  There are approximately 13.7 million single parents live in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2009.

This report was released in 2011, and shows that these parents are responsible for raising about 26% of American children under the age of 21, or about 21.8 million.

The following charts indicate some of more surprising statistics about single parents.

Custody

Single Mothers



Single Fathers

Custodial Parent

82.2%

17.8%

Statistics show that most single mothers and fathers are either divorced, or were never married. They may choose to live with their significant others, but never actually tie the knot.

This is most likely due to the rising cost of divorce and the parent’s belief that the relationships they are in are not long-term.

Marital Status

Single Mothers

Single Fathers

Divorced or Separated

44.2%

53.5%

Never Married

36.8%

24.7%

Remarried

18%

20%

Widowed

1.1%

1%

One of the biggest struggles facing single moms and dads today is financial difficulty. It is if the deck is already stacked against them. They must provide the same type of financial support as families with two working parents.

This is not always easy, especially when many do not have the time or money to earn their education so they can find employment that pays more than minimum wage.

Employment Status

Single Mothers

Single Fathers

Employed

76%

85.1%

Employed Full Time

49.8%

71.7%

Employed Part Time

29.7%

18.4%

As a result, many parents find themselves living at or below the poverty line, relying on public assistance as they struggle to get by.

They may have to take advantage of assistance like SNAP (Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program), Medicaid, rent subsidies, and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF).

Poverty and Assistance

Single Mothers

Single Fathers

Living in Poverty

30.4%

18.8%

Public Assistance

41.3%

20.9%

While child support can help to offset the struggles a custodial parent faces financially, not all single parents receive support. In fact, many do not even take steps to establish a legal agreement.

According to the report by the U.S. Census Bureau, 32.1% of single parents don’t feel the need to establish a legal agreement and fight for child support. 29.2% of parents refrain from obtaining child support legally because the other parent would not be able to pay.

And 16.7% of single parents demanding child support because they do not want to have contact with their ex. The following indicates just a few single parents who have established legal agreements and are receiving child support.

Receiving Child Support

Single Mothers and Fathers

Over 40 Years of Age

47.4%

Bachelor’s Degree or Higher

43.5%

Working Full Time

42.4%

Less Than a High School Diploma

30.2%

The financial stability of a single parent’s home is often a key factor in deciding how the single parent and family will live. Many single moms and dads with lower incomes will be forced to rent their homes instead of purchasing them.

These individuals, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, are more likely to go without work, have no phone, have no vehicle, and live in crowded homes. One in three parents faced extreme cost burden as renters, meaning the cost of their housing consumed more than 50% of their income.

Single Parent Households

Homeowners

Rent Homes

Single Mothers

29%

71%

Single Fathers

58%

42%

Living in Mobile Homes

9%

4%

3 or More Children

14%

46%

No High School Diploma

14%

20%

College Graduate

22%

7

Being a single parent can be a tough job. As the sole provider for your household, you may struggle with putting food on the table, providing safe and adequate housing, and finding employment that will pay enough to cover the bills.

But, if you are like most single parents, you wouldn’t trade it for the world.

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