Single Parents in the United States

Single Parents have grown so common in the United States today that roughly 11 million individuals fall into this category. 80% of such are single mothers and nearly a third live in poverty. 

Snapshot of Single Parents 2020.png

Around half (50.4%) of single mothers have never married, almost a third (29.5%) are divorced, and 20.2% are either separated or widowed. Half have one child, 30% have two. About two thirds are White, one third Black.

Demographic.png

At any one time, about two thirds of single mothers are working outside the home, a slightly greater share than that of married mothers who are also working outside the home.

However, only half were employed full-time all year long, 29% were jobless the entire year. Among those who were laid off or looking for work, less than a quarter (22.4%) received unemployment benefits.

Employment.png

If a single mother is able to work, her earning power still lags significantly compared with men’s, about 82¢ to a $1 for the same job — leaving a wage gap of 18¢ on the dollar. 

Single mothers earn income that place them well below married mothers in the income ladder. The gap between the two groups is significantly large.

Income .png

Single mothers are much more likely to be poor than married couples. The poverty rate for single-mother families in 2019 was 31%, nearly five times more than the rate (5%) for married-couple families.

Families headed by women of color fared even worse. Nearly two in five (35%) of Black female-headed families lived in poverty, Hispanic (34%), White (26%), and Asian (22%).

Poverty.png