Single Mothers Fact Sheet

-There are 15 million single mothers heading households raising more than 20 million children on their own.  More than half of all first births were to single women, about 53 percent. The typical American household has changed drastically in the last generation. In the year 1960, 45% of all households were composed of married couples with children. As of the 2014 Census, that figure is only 23% of households. The 2014 Census also reveals that during the 1990s in the United States, there was a 25% increase in the number of households headed by single mothers. In all, there was a 71% increase in the number of households headed by unmarried partners during the last decade.

-The median income for single parent women head of households with children under six years old is roughly 1/4 that of two parent households. (National Survey of Families and Households)

-$39 billion dollars is owed in back child support to 29 million children of single parent women. (National Child Support Report)

-78% of all single parent women are employed (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

-45% of all single parent women hold down more than one job. (Bureau of Labor Statistics,) Sleep, self-time, and chores are among the top things working mothers forgo to spend time with their children. (University of Maryland Study)

-In 49 states the average annual cost of childcare exceeds the annual cost of public college tuition. (National Association of Working Women)

-Single parent women experience the highest rate of unemployment and receive the lowest rate of pay regardless of their education. (Economic Roundtable)

-Single-parent families are among the poorest in the nation and as such, are extremely vulnerable to homelessness. Among all homeless families nationwide, over three quarters were headed by single women with children

-Single mothers are more likely to be poor than married couples. The poverty rate for single-mother families in 2013 was 39.6%, nearly five times more than the rate (7.6%) for married-couple families.

-One-third (34.4%) of single mother families were “food insecure, one-seventh (13%) used food pantries, one-third spent more than half their income on housing,  which is generally considered the threshold for severe housing cost burden.

-While the hourly wage for women without children is 90% of a man’s, the comparable figure for women with children is 70%. (Bureau of Labor Statistics)

-Fewer than 17% of all single moms receive government assistance even in the minor form of food stamps. (Economic Roundtable).

-Although two-fifths of all single mothers are poor, only one tenth of all single mothers receive TANF. Though a small percentage, they represent more than 90% of all TANF families.

Even for those who did receive assistance, the amount was far less than the minimum they’d need to stave off hardship — like hunger, homelessness, and utility cut-offs.

-Nationally the annual cost of center-based infant care averaged over 40% of the state median income for a single mother. About 32% for a school-age child. In Oregon, Massachusetts and New York, a single mother of an infant ages 0-3 would have to pay more than half of her income for daycare at a center.27In 2013, 19 states had wait lists or had frozen their intake for child care assistance, with wait times ranging from 90 days to two years.

-The majority of single mothers in the United States are separated, divorced or widowed; and they work more hours and yet have higher poverty rates than single mothers in other high-income countries. This is due to the fact that many employed single mothers are earning poverty wages. About 40% of U.S. single parents were employed in low-wage jobs— exceptionally high compared to single parents in peer countries.