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Interesting Facts

The public image of the “typical” single parent is quite distorted. In fact, many Americans would be surprised to learn just how much they have in common with the average single parent.

According to Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2007, released by the U.S. Census Bureau in November, 2009, there are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the United States today, and those parents are responsible for raising 21.8 million children (approximately 26% of children under 21 in the U.S. today).

So what’s the “average” single parent really like? According to the U.S. Census Bureau…

She is a Mother:

  • Approximately 84% of custodial parents are mothers, and
  • 16% of custodial parents are fathers

She is Divorced or Separated:

Of the mothers who are custodial parents:

  • 45% are currently divorced or separated
  • 34.2% have never been married
  • 19% are married (In most cases, these numbers represent women who have remarried.)
  • 1.7% were widowed

Of the fathers who are custodial parents:

  • 57.8% are divorced or separated
  • 20.9% have never married
  • 20% are currently married (In most cases, these numbers represent men who have remarried.)
  • Fewer than 1% were widowed

She is Employed:

  • 79.5% of custodial single mothers are gainfully employed

49.8% work full time, year round
29.7% work part-time or part-year

  • 90% of custodial single fathers are gainfully employed

71.7% work full time, year round
18.4% work part-time or part-year

She and Her Children Do Not Live in Poverty:

  • 27% of custodial single mothers and their children live in poverty
  • 12.9% of custodial single fathers and their children live in poverty

She Does Not Receive Public Assistance:

Among custodial single mothers:

She is 40 Years Old or Older:

  • 39.1% of custodial single mothers are 40 years old or older

She is Raising One Child:

  • 54% of custodial mothers are raising one child from the absent parent
  • 46% have two or more children living with them

References:
United States. Census Department. Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2007. By Timothy S. Grall. Census, 2009. 26 Feb. 2010 [http://www.census.gov/prod/2009pubs/p60-237.pdf].

 

 

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