Single mom statistics and data for 2021

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Who are single moms today?

In summary, there are more single-parented headed households today than any other time in recent history. The majority of those families are headed by a single mom. In fact, 64% of millennial moms have a child outside of marriage, according to Johns Hopkins researchers.

The reasons for these quickly changing statistics include high — but declining — divorce rates, but more significantly, a drop in marriage rates overall among young people in the United States, and an overall acceptance for having children outside of a “traditional” heterosexual, first marriage.

There are 1.2 million divorces in the United States each year.

Traditional nuclear families with two married heterosexual parents are now the minority of U.S. The rise of single motherhood is the largest influence on this trend — followed by multigenerational families, blended families, adoptive and foster families, and famililes headed by same-sex parents. 

A full 46% millennials and 44% GenXers say “marriage is becoming obsolete.” 

This post has recent stats on single-parent headed homes and their children, but also sheds light on the nuance of the surge in single parenthood and marriage, as well as equal co-parenting.

Single mom statistics

There were 15.6 million single mother-headed households in the United States in 2019. This is 3x the number in 1960. In addition:

  • 25% of U.S. families are headed by a single parent, and 80% of single-parent headed households are moms — or 21% of U.S. children live primarily with a single mother, according to Census data.
  • Studies estimate that by the time children turn 9, 20% of U.S. children born to a married couple and more than 50% of those born to a cohabiting couple will experience the breakup of their folks. 
  • 40% of babies born in the United States were born to an unmarried mom in 2018, according to census data.

Millennial single mom statistics

Per Johns Hopkins University researchers paper, “Changing Fertility Regimes and the Transition to Adulthood: Evidence from a Recent Cohort:”

  • 57% of millennial parents had at least one child out of wedlock.
  • 64% of millennial moms reported at least one birth out of wedlock.

More educated millennials are having babies outside of marriage. Of millennial moms who have babies outside of marriage, 67% have some college education, and 32% have four or more years of higher education.

While the 2.1 million single mothers in college in 2012 is double that of 2000, according to an Institute for Women’s Policy report, the graduation rate of women who entered college as a mom is just 28% for single moms, compared with 40% percent of married moms, and 57% of female students who were not parents.

There is a stark division between single millennial moms who have college degrees and those who do not:

  • 71% of millennial moms with a four-year college degree were married, and typically were in their 20s when they first gave birth.
  • 74% of millennial moms without a bachelor’s degree were unmarried, and typically had children younger.

Throughout history, marriage and parenthood have been linked milestones on the journey to adulthood.

But for the young adults of the Millennial Generation, these social institutions are becoming delinked and differently valued.

Today’s 18- to 29-year-olds value parenthood far more than marriage.

Older single mom statistics

Today, there are far more older mothers overall, including more older single moms.

By comparison, there has been a 70% drop in teen births — from 62% of girls aged 15-19 in 1991, to 19% in 2017, the most recent data provided by the Department of Health and Human Services.

  • 48% increase in births to unmarried women aged 35-39 (2007-12)
  • 29% increase in births to unmarried moms aged 40-44
  • 55% of never-married women ages 40 to 44 have at least one child, up from 31 percent two decades ago, according to Pew’s analysis of Census data.

While the rate of babies born to single mothers has declined slightly, there is a notable rise in babies born to single moms by choice – women who tend to be older, more educated, and with higher income.

Single motherhood rate by race

Single mother numbers in the United States have always been higher among African American women. At the hands of slavery, black women’s consensual relationships and marriages bore no legal rights, and black women had no legal rights to the children they bore at the hands of rape of their white slave owners.

Per Pew:

“Once largely limited to poor women and minorities, motherhood without marriage has settled deeply into middle America.

The fastest growth in the last two decades has occurred among white women in their 20s who have some college education but no four-year degree. Among mothers of all ages, a majority — 59 percent in 2009 — are married when they have children.

But the surge of births outside marriage among younger women — nearly two-thirds of children in the United States are born to mothers under 30 — is both a symbol of the transforming family and a hint of coming generational change.”

“Single parent households exist in a different socioeconomic pool than married households.

Single mothers earn incomes that place them well below married mothers in the income ladder.

According to Pew, married mothers earned a median family income of $80,000 in 2011, almost four times more than families led by a single mom.

This is likely a consequence of the lower educational qualifications of single mothers, as well as the fact that they are younger and more likely to be black or Hispanic. Married mothers tend to be older and are disproportionately white and college-educated.”

Single mothers by race and percentage
Percentage of white single mothers40%
Percentage of single black mothers30%
Percentage of Hispanic single mothers24%
Percentage of Asian single mothers3%
Source: U.S. Census data

Related: Don’t cry for me, I’m a black single mother

Single moms’ education and income

Of millennial moms who have babies outside of marriage, 67% have some college education, and 32% have four or more years of higher education.

What percent of single mothers live in poverty?

  • 32% of single moms earn $40,000+ 
  • 10% of single moms earn $80,000+

A Pew Research Center analysis found the poverty rate by household head was:

  • 30% of solo mothers
  • 17% of solo fathers
  • 16% of families headed by a cohabiting couples
  • 8% of married couple families

From the report:

Cohabiting parents are younger, less educated and less likely to have ever been married than solo parents. At the same time, solo parents have fewer children on average than cohabiting parents and are far more likely to be living with one of their own parents (23% vs. 4%) …

Solo moms are more than twice as likely to be black as cohabiting moms (30% vs. 12%), and roughly four times as likely as married moms (7% of whom are black). Four-in-ten solo mothers are white, compared with 58% of cohabiting moms and 61% of married moms.

There are virtually no racial and ethnic differences in the profiles of solo and cohabiting fathers.

Distribution of parents, by parent type

Single motherhood pay gap

Mothers overall suffer a pay gap of 29%, earning an average of 71 cents for every $1 earned by a dad — or an average of $16,000 less per year, according to the National Women’s Law Center. 

This motherhood penalty is dramatically worse for single mothers at 35%. According to Pew Research, single moms with a household of three earn just $26,000 per year on average, compared with $40,000 per year for single dads.

I conducted a survey of 2,279 single moms and found a direct correlation between time-sharing between single parents, and single moms’ include. The 2021 white paper outlining the findings of the Single Mom Income and Time-Sharing Survey are here:

Survey highlights:

  • Moms with 50/50 parenting schedules are 54% more likely to earn at least $100,000 annually than moms whose kids are with them most of the time (with “visits” with the dad), and more than three times (325%) more likely to earn $100,000+ than single moms with 100% time responsibility.
  • Moms with 50/50 parenting schedules are more than twice as likely to earn $65,000+, and nearly three-times as likely to earn that sum than moms with 100% parenting time.  
  • 13% of single moms have a 50/50 parenting arrangement, and 51% have their children 100% of the time.
  • 9 in 10 single moms say they could earn more money if they had more equality in their co-parenting schedules.
  • Moms with 50/50 parenting time are 34% more likely to say they feel “awesome and proud” of being a mom when compared with moms who care for their kids 100% of the time.

More details about the survey project.

I also founded Moms For Shared Parenting, an organization devoted to advancing parenting policy and culture.

Single parents by country

A December, 2019 Pew Research Center study of 130 countries and territories finds the United States has the world’s highest rate of children living in single-parent households, at 23%. By comparison:

  • Russia 18% of children live in single parent-headed households
  • Uganda 10%
  • Germany 12%
  • Japan 7%
  • Mexico 7%
  • India 5%
  • China 4%
  • Worldwide: an average of 7% of children under age 18 live with a single parent

Single moms are overwhelmingly doing it all alone

  • 50% of custodial parents have child support agreements (informal or formal), but only 44% received all child support owed, according to a 2018 U.S. Census Bureau report.
  • The median sum due is about $480 per month.

Child Support Payments Received by Custodial Parents[Source: U.S. Census Bureau]

  • Of fathers who live apart from their children, 22% of dads see their kids more than once per week.

But, how many of those fathers choose not to see their kids more, and how many of them are forced out their kids’ lives completely, or marginalized to a weekend dad?

The answer to this question is complicated and hotly debated. A sexist culture and family court system that marginalizes fathers is a real force, as is parental alienation, mass incarceration of African American men are all real forces.


Takeaways from these single mom statistics

There are more single moms because it is more acceptable to be a single mom

Single moms are growing in number, in part, because women have more financial opportunities, and can more comfortably afford to have children without the full-time financial support of the children’s father. At the same time, the rise in single motherhood has severely lessened the stigma of being an unmarried mom, a fact that has been attributed to the drop in abortion rates in recent decades.

The rise and general acceptance of single motherhood across all demographics (young, African American and Hispanic moms make up the majority of this trend, but older, more affluent single-moms-by-choice is the fastest-growing segment of the single-mom population), is part of a larger trend of redefining what family and healthy family means. It was a few years ago that headlines announced that the married, heterosexual parent household with children is now the statistical minority in the United States. Today, about a quarter of married couples who live with children under age 18 are in these Leave it to Beaver families where only the father works — down 47 percent in 1970.

While gay, multi-generational, blended and adoptive families are on the rise, single-mom-led households made up the bulk of that new majority of “non-traditional” families (enter eye-rolling of many, including this writer!). Paired with news that young adults increasingly find marriage an obsolete institution, this made sense. However, this new acceptance of family does not preclude romantic partnerships, as most Millennial moms are in committed romantic partnerships, even if they are not legally married.

From “Why Is The Abortion Rate Falling?” in The Atlantic:

“When marriage was the near-universal norm in American society, a pregnancy out of wedlock pushed a couple toward one of four choices: shotgun wedding; adoption; abortion; or single motherhood, in that order of social acceptability.

The result was a society in which both abortion and single motherhood were rare.

In the decade after 1965, both women and men claimed greater sexual autonomy for themselves. The shotgun marriage seemed an increasingly outrageous imposition to meet increasingly irrelevant social expectations. After 1970, adoption of native-born American children by non-related parents rapidly dwindled. Yet outright single motherhood remained comparatively unusual for middle-class Americans, and especially for white middle-class Americans. The abortion spike between 1975 and 1990 reflected a new ranking of acceptable responses to an unmarried pregnancy: abortion, single parenthood, shotgun wedding, and adoption, in that order.”


More gender equality at home — including in separated families

Today’s expectations of the role that men and women will play in parenting is different from older moms. Millennial mothers are most likely to have children with men who are more inclined to share household and childcare duties. To wit: a 1982 study found 43 percent of fathers never changed a diaper. By 2000 another study showed this figure had fallen to 3 percent.

Fatherhood, as we know, goes far beyond keeping little butts clean. While the bulk of care of children still falls on women, a Boston College Center for Work & Family study found that 66 percent of Millennial dads believe that child care should be shared equally (even if just 29 percent conceded that that work is actually shared equally in their family), and the number of hours dads today spend with their kids tripled to 7 hours weekly in 2015 from 1965, while they spend an average of nine hours on housework, up from four hours half a century earlier.

These trends are reflected in separated families, where the number of hours that dads spend with children has increased regardless of whether the dad is a part of the same household. While in 80 percent of custody cases, courts rule to give mothers primary residence, there is a huge new movement towards shared parenting, in which it is presumed that both parents have equal legal custody and approximately half time with each parent in the event of a separation. In fact, in 2017 alone, shared parenting legislation has been introduced in 25 states, and counting. This makes sense, as there are 60 peer-reviewed studies that find that shared parenting — in which each parent has the kids about 40 percent of the time — is best for children.

Shared parenting is also great for moms. After all, if with more parenting and time support from another parent means more time to nurture other parts of your life — including your career. After all, we can’t have equality at work if we don’t have equality in your family — regardless of what your family looks like.

Related:  Close the pay gap? Get dads involved? Answer: shared parenting and no child support

Millennial moms are more comfortable with being a working parent

The youngest generation of mothers are redefining what it means to be a parent, spouse, professional and citizen. We know that young mothers are the most formally educated in all of history, and are more likely to work for pay outside the home than their mothers or grandmothers, wielding far more financial, professional and political power than ever before.

Inclusive of this fact, 67 percent of Millennial single moms are college-educated, Johns Hopkins researchers found.

This is a group of women who feel less guilty about all the work/family/life conflict that weighs down older generations. A Pew survey found that 57 percent of Millennial moms feel they are doing a “very good job” at parenting, compared with 48 percent of Gen X moms and 41 percent of Boomer moms.


More reading:

Who gets to call themselves a ‘single mom’?

Close the pay gap? Get dads involved? Do this

As Millennials Near 40, They’re Approaching Family Life Differently Than Previous Generations (Pew Research Trends)

For Millennials, Out-of-Wedlock Childbirth Is the Norm (Slate)

The Luxury of Waiting for Marriage to Have Kids (The Atlantic)

Dramatic increase in the proportion of births outside of marriage in the United States from 1990 to 2016 (Child Trends)

Related documentary and books on shared parenting:

Recommended shared parenting documentary: Divorce Corp

Kickass Single Mom, Be Financially Independent, Discover Your Sexiest Self, and Raise Fabulous, Happy Children, By: Emma Johnson

Blend, The Secret to Co-Parenting and Creating a Balanced Family, By: Mashonda Tifrere

Co-parenting with a Toxic Ex: What to Do When Your Ex-Spouse Tries to Turn the Kids Against You, By: by Amy J. L. Baker, PhD and Paul R Fine, LCSWDivorce Poison: How to Protect Your Family from Bad-mouthing and Brainwashing, By: Dr. Richard A. Warshak


Wealthysinglemommy.com founder Emma Johnson is an award-winning business journalist, activist, author and expert. A former Associated Press reporter and MSN Money columnist, Emma has appeared on CNBC, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, NPR, TIME, The Doctors, Elle, O, The Oprah Magazine. Winner of Parents magazine’s “Best of the Web” and a New York Observer “Most Eligible New Yorker," her #1 bestseller, The Kickass Single Mom (Penguin), was a New York Post Must Read. As an expert on divorce and gender, Emma presented at the United Nations Summit for Gender Equality and multiple state legislature hearings. More about Emma's credentials.

48 Comments

This makes no sense.. you said women now have equality and are getting help but in the stats it says only 44% get help from the father’s. That’s not even 50% so can’t round up… Round down…
And 30% of mother’s live in poverty… While married mother’s live in 8% poverty.
No I don’t think you’ve actually spoken to women as to why they don’t want to be married.
Because if you actually thought about it, then you’d realize that women would rather be single and in 30% poverty then married.

Marriage used to be the ownership of a woman. Women are no longer owned so there’s no reason to get married. The only incentive is retirement. Buy if women don’t have to live in 30% poverty and don’t have the stress of 18 years of a mental and finical gold digger. They will have more money and be happier.

Wasn’t there an article about married women are the saddest while single women are the happiest.
Marriage wasn’t made for women. It was made for men.

Hi Emma- I appreciate the work you are doing in bringing awareness through your own perspectives and knowledge. The statistics here were powerful. I would say that your perspective as a wealthy single mom gives a certain view that frames some of your writing and excludes certain other perspectives. Of course this is always the case, we all have limited perspectives. I thin we cannot talk about single moms without talking about domestic violence. Beside seeing statistics on “single mom by choice” I want to see “single mom not by choice” or “single mom by trauma”. There are so many women who are single parenting because of abuse and leaving violent partners. I would also challenge “millenial moms are more comfortable with being working parents”. I do not agree with this sentiment, likely because I do not live as a wealth single mom. If I were making great money, perhaps I would feel more okay with being a working single mom, but I don’t make good money and I struggle to get by. We can criticize this or problem solve it, but in reality I know it isn’t my problem to fix. I hold a master’s degree and as a counselor I will probably never make enough money to pay off my student loans. With the pandemic, I have been out of wages for 3 months. And as your article recognizes, I am one of those people who have only received a small portion of the child support I am owed. Finally I would like to say that we need to challenge this perspective that shared custody or parent time arrangements are the goal. While I genuinely celebrate for you or any people who have this situation, it is a privilege. Many single mothers have an ex-partner or child(ren)’s father who is, like I mentioned before, violent, abusive, or mentally ill. We can talk about the goal of having harmonious co-parenting arrangements, but we need to know this is only realistic or even safe for part of the population of single moms we are discussing. The stigma I encounter here is shame in having a partner who is narcissistic or dysfunctional, and that shame if wrong. No single mother or survivor of domestic violence or other trauma-defined circumstances needs to be judged for a problem that a broken world and intergenerational trauma have created. This stigma is toxic and I would like to see it brought to light much more. Thank you for your time and consideration, I appreciate this conversation.

Your point on black dads is a lie.

The illegitimacy rate for black children is 80%. Fifty percent don’t know who their fathers are or have no regular contact with their fathers.

The study you are undoubtedly quoting does NOT communicate that black fathers overall spend more time with their children than fathers of other races overall, but rather that black fathers spend more time with their children than fathers of other races in COMPARATIVE relationships. So while married black fathers spend more time with their children than married white fathers, let’s say, the vast majority of black fathers overall are still unmarried and have little to no contact with their children.

Lying to make black people feel better is a disservice and is a form of erasure of children who suffered through these experiences and have long-lasting emotional/psychological issues as a result.

Yr figures are wrong just fake news.Seeing the black dads are the most involved…
Knew something was up
our community will never improve if ppl like u continue to whitewash our true problems. How bout instead of generalizing yr past relationship problems to our culture try reporting TRUTH next time
#FakeNews
#fakestats

Statements recognizing this huge increase in single mothers doesn’t support any position that this is a good trend, in fact statistics show its actually detrimental to humanity. Men are going MGTOW because of silly articles trying to justify and normalize this ridiculous trend. Women just be the women you were meant to be not who these people tell you to be.

What I’m wondering is if all these single moms are so educated and have high paying jobs, why do they need child support from the father.. Key word “SUPPORT” which means they can’t take care of the child by themselves cause if they could they wouldn’t be going to court for “SUPPORT” think about it.

Dear women, here is the secret: Please stop whoring around and then later expecting a man with high morals and a sense of responsibility to marry you. Such a man abhors you and only considers you useful a sex toy. No man is proud to present you as his wife after you have satisfactorily ‘explored your sexuality’. And we know that all women lie about these numbers.
For those who are abandoned it is because while you were young and pretty, you aimed for a ‘socially top’ guy who settled for you because he couldn’t get the hotter girls as they were busy dating older guys with more money. When he is older and can get the younger hot ones, he then goes for them. It is a screwed dating world because everyone wants to get a good deal, in other words; we all want to be the more messed up ones in the relationship.
Good luck to those who are still into relationships ! Enjoy your Godless mess.
PS. For the christian women; stop expecting Boaz (or Joseph) to marry you when you have the character of Delilah (or Jezebel).

LOL So this is why this Baby Alive doll I bought last night from Target has a setting for greeting moms and a separate setting for greeting dads. We’re taking over!

I think it is so hard to raise kids without some help. A partner is ideal because that usually means more money and more time to devote to the children but extended family, or friends can compensate for that. There seems to be a lack of an effective social safety net for poor single moms, who most need it. I think the Emma’s of the world are heroes but you are a winner and so many single moms can’t picture themselves being so strong and confident. I admire you for being an example that while the odds may be tougher than they should be they aren’t insurmountable. Complaining about problems has a place but helping to fix them, that’s a way higher calling!

Yeah, I have to agree with some of these other commenters. You’re really distorting the findings of the John Hopkins report entirely.

Your words: More educated millennials are having babies outside of marriage. Of millennial moms who have babies outside of marriage, 67% have some college education, and 32% have four or more years of higher education

John’s Hopkins Report:” Figure 1 – continued.
C. Women with one to three years of college completed (27% OF ALL BIRTHS).”

You quoted three times that amount at 67% … Is blindly spewing empowering numbers really portraying a great image for a wealthySMARTsinglemommy?

From the EducationNext article that is linked to entitled “Was Moynihan Right?”-

(Discussing the problem of rising rates of single motherhood among blacks, who are less likely to earn a college degree):

“The fact that single motherhood is increasing faster among women with less than a college degree means that children growing up with a single mother are likely to be doubly disadvantaged. They spend less time and receive less money from their biological fathers than children who live with their fathers. At the same time, the primary breadwinner in the family—the mother—has lower earnings than the typical mother in a married-parent family. The official poverty rate in 2013 among all families with children was 40 percent if the family was headed by an unmarried mother and only 8 percent if the family was headed by a married couple (see Figure 4). ”

(Effects on children show that boys in particular are more apt to develop anti-social behavior without their biological father present):

“Growing up with only one biological parent reduces a child’s chances of graduating from high school by about 40 percent, which is similar to the effect of having a mother who did not finish high school rather than one who did. The absence of one’s biological father has not been shown to affect a child’s verbal and math test scores, however. The evidence for other indicators of educational performance, such as high school grades, skipping school, and college aspirations, is mixed, with some studies finding that father absence lowers school attendance and aspirations and others finding no effect. Most studies find larger effects on boys than on girls.”

Might want to *read* the sources you cite, next time, and discuss the full findings instead of blindly assuming that Slate et al adequately represent scientific findings

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I was raised by a single mother of three. I was the oldest and shouldered a lot of responsibility caring for my siblings. I was the classic poster-child for the latch-key kid of the 80s as a GenXer. My mother was divorced due to my dad’s choice to be unfaithful. My dad also chose to be a deadbeat and fled the country to avoid alimony and child support. He started a second family in Panama and never reached out to his first family, us. Growing up was hard, making ends meet harder, we went through some government aid, and we experienced homelessness when my mother was between jobs. The silver lining was qualifying for aid in addition to receiving merit-based aid. Contrary to some statistics, my siblings and I all went to college, all graduated, all married and are now raising our kids in two-parent homes.

I honestly do not know what is harder today: kids growing up without any father figure (like I did) or growing up in a custodial ping pong situation. When there is a dad somewhat present, it makes it harder for some kids to apply for college aid, yet that does not mean the financial support is consistent. Once a parent is no longer legally obligated to fund a kid, is it likely that the parent will continue to do so? Some do and some do not. Some divorced moms have to wrangle continuously for economic support or custody. It is a never-ending source of stress and instability.

I can see where some millenials choose to avoid dependence and constant fighting and go it alone. I do not condone having children on purpose without a network of parents, extended family or community support, but I can understand that sometimes older women without the prospect of this network might choose to experience motherhood, especially if they can financially support themselves.

Marriage never offers guaranties of a happy and peaceful life for anyone but I think we have forgotten that the purpose of marriage was to offer stability for children. When that stability is threatened by domestic abuse, etc. it gives marriage a bad rap and people might as well damn marriage as an archaic and useless social convention. BUT, if we understand marriage to be based on trust, respect, commitment, self-discipline and selflessness, you might even get to understand marriage as something built on deep friendship and even love. Those are all qualities we try to teach our children and we hope our children experience. That is what we honor most in marriage and makes it something to aspire to experience.

But marriage takes effort and sadly that is in short supply. Raising children takes effort and it takes a village, as they say. And while you can find those positive qualities without a marriage certificate, the commitment to children includes providing for their material needs and, yes, a marriage certificate is a legal document that is meant to provide some legal and financial securities. But marriage should not be considered a business deal which is what we see too often from Hollywood. Pre-nups or not, we tend to focus on the dollar amounts gained from the transactions of a divorce. If that is the point of marriage (making a good return of investment), then it adds impetus to avoid marriage “deals”.

Returning to the point, regardless of what the statistics say about single mothers, I think we simply have to extend a helping hand, when wanted and needed, to the single mother for the sake of the kids. That is hard to do because many single moms have their dignity and do not want handouts; some do not need them. However, the kids do not have to be statistics of poverty. Share a lunch, share a ticket, share some time, share the love.

The 22% statement about fathers seeing their kids is not the whole story and miss represented on this page. The 22% is only of the population of divorced fathers who at no point during the year habe lived with their child. So fathers who get nights or weekends, or summers with their kids are not part of the population that the 22% is taken from.

A simple reading of the paper, 73% of all fathers have atleast co residence with their children. That leaves 27% of fathers that do not have co residence. So that means 6% of all fathers see there kids atleast once a week and 21% of fathers do not see their atleast once a week

IT is fathers who live separately from their kids, which is 25% of US families, and includes dads who see their kids weekends and summers.

Correct it is fathers who live apart from their childrent for the entire year. Fathers who share a residence with their children at any time during the year are not part of this population on this survey. The paper explicitly defines what populations were surveyed for what questions.

Yes, but when you state, “…only 22% of dads see their kids more than once per week,” the use of “only” in your reference to the stat somewhat implies that 78% of dads have no interest in seeing their kids. Furthermore, while I don’t have an immediate reference to offer, there are plenty of cases where custodial mothers deny the father’s of their children any visitation. Many without any legitimate reason for said denial. They denial their children the right to see their fathers for reasons none other than the fact that the relationship didn’t work out and the Father has moved on with his life and found a new partner.

Father’s rights in Family Law/child custody and child support matters are essentially non-existent. Our judicial system continues to favor mothers over fathers. The system turns a blind eye to mothers who regularly commit perjury by making false and unfounded allegations of domestic and/or child abuse. It’s a sad injustice to the good men and fathers out there who are being denied access to their children because of bitter ex-girlfriends and/or spouses.

I see these statistics yet wonder why there continues to be so much stigmatizing of single mothers. I honestly never thought much about it until my husband I separated 11 months ago and I eventually moved to another state with my kids to finish a graduate program. I have found myself reading all sorts of stuff about single motherhood and frankly I’m shocked at some of the negative stereotypes associated with a woman raising her kids herself. I am well-educated and working on a second Masters degree. I worked several years before having my kids and taking time off to be with them while they were young. I saved, planned and paid off student loans. My husband found greener pastures and I was faced with either accepting his behavior towards me and my kids or extricating myself from the situation. There have been lots of consequences for me which I am unhappy about but I never thought I’d encounter some of the social stigma that society seems to project towards a single mother. Frequently women become single parents because a spouse walks out, engages in infidelity, abuse, death. And those unmarried women who experience an unplanned pregnancy seem to be damned if they do damned if they don’t based on some of the deeply embedded social beliefs in this country. While you’d think we’d be cheering on a woman who decides to continue the pregnancy and make the sacrifices to raise a child we have segments of the population criticizing her or blaming her for all sorts of social ills. And if she doesn’t choose to continue the pregnancy and raise a child solo well we all get to hear about that topic in the news just about everyday. I can only hope as we see more single mothers successfully raising their children society will become more accepting and respectful of these nontraditional families. What I found even more interesting was an article regarding while we demonize single mothers we tend to martyr single dads. He is some sort of novelty and must really care about his kids. I found myself guilty of some of this myself I realized when I would extend extra credit to a single dad than a single mom. I am now more aware of how these rather archaic attitudes are deeply ingrained in many of us and its not until I find myself transitioning from nuclear family to a non-traditional family experience that I’ve become cognizant of these perceptions. So I hope stats and websites like this help us to change such anachronistic views of single mothers and nontraditional family structures. Maybe they’re more the norm than we’ve been led to believe for a long time.

I completely agree with everything you wrote, but in the last 6 months- year I have started to notice some big changes …. Lifetime auditioned me for a show called Millionaire Single Moms, brands are reaching out to me in an effort to connect with single moms in a non-patronizing way. Things are changing, slowly but surely!

Because statistically children with absentee fathers do not perform as well in society? How is that not clear to you? Wanna know what every sociopath, career criminal and hardcore addict have in common? No father figure. Go figure that Asian Americans out perform every demographic in every aspect of society, their unstable/non-traditional family and absentee father rate is only like 17%

Oh my God, Cameron. I assume you’ll not return here to read my response to you, but perhaps you will. Unstable and non-traditional doesn’t equal poor outlook. Unstable can also mean abusive “non-absentee” father. Sure, the statistics talk about fathers who are involved in kids’ lives equate to more success. But there’s no research on what happens when the same exists in an abusive household. Well I’ll tell you from my own personal experience that although my ex has an MBA and is “educated” by most standards, he’s uneducated in the methods of effective communication and successful parenting. My ex was on the sociopath spectrum as a narcissist and our relationship together was FAR worse for my kids. We still struggled financially even though we made enough. Each time I attempted to work outside the home, or start a business he would suddenly create so much turmoil that on one occasion, my daughter was hospitalized with a stress-related near life-threatening condition that no doctor could properly assess. It was a scary and horrific time. In my kids’ eyes, they saw me as the oppressed, non-working mom. I never planned this for myself, and I’m an educated woman. It happened very slowly and I found myself out-dated in skills and exhausted without income. This isn’t the way to raise kids-
girls or boys. So I’m not sure where you get this idea – sometimes stats aren’t the reality. Statistics can LIE. It’s so easy to skew findings. So unless you’ve been there yourself, be careful about stating these types of things. You have NO idea unless you’ve lived it. I was once that person, so I can now state without question that this type of thinking must stop. Many very intelligent women are getting caught in the crossfire. I’m expecting to get out of this at some point – but at the moment it’s still stressful – 1.5 years after.

And because of the aftermath of dealing with their Dad, I’ve had to put my kids in therapy and they’re still dealing with issues. I work long and hard to ensure they know they’re loved, they’re able to be successful, regardless and in fact because of this. And I occasionally take on the traditional male role of tough love.

On the flip side, I happen to know of TWO highly successful Asians with abusive parental circumstances and who left as soon as possible. They do not have close adult relationships with their parents and they are very successful financially, however, one doesn’t have great relationships herself – and is now a single parent; the other had no desire to marry an Asian, though that wasn’t his family’s wish.

From the EducationNext article that is linked to entitled “Was Moynihan Right?”-

(Discussing the problem of rising rates of single motherhood among blacks, who are less likely to earn a college degree):

“The fact that single motherhood is increasing faster among women with less than a college degree means that children growing up with a single mother are likely to be doubly disadvantaged. They spend less time and receive less money from their biological fathers than children who live with their fathers. At the same time, the primary breadwinner in the family—the mother—has lower earnings than the typical mother in a married-parent family. The official poverty rate in 2013 among all families with children was 40 percent if the family was headed by an unmarried mother and only 8 percent if the family was headed by a married couple (see Figure 4). ”

(Effects on children show that boys in particular are more apt to develop anti-social behavior without their biological father present):

“Growing up with only one biological parent reduces a child’s chances of graduating from high school by about 40 percent, which is similar to the effect of having a mother who did not finish high school rather than one who did. The absence of one’s biological father has not been shown to affect a child’s verbal and math test scores, however. The evidence for other indicators of educational performance, such as high school grades, skipping school, and college aspirations, is mixed, with some studies finding that father absence lowers school attendance and aspirations and others finding no effect. Most studies find larger effects on boys than on girls.”

So the bad boy with narcissistic tendencies wooed poor helpless you enough to have a child with him, but then you finally saw the light? Take some ownership of your poor choices, that’s half the problem with so many single mom’s, it’s everyones fault but their own that they find themselves in such a situation.

These statistics are insanely biased. Based on these same percentages 58% of single mothers make less than 35k. We all know that is far from enough to raise a family with more than one child. Also, 67% have some college education means nothing. Who ever got a job saying I almost have a degree? I almost qualify for this job? It just means that 67% Don’t have a college degree and are getting the same jobs you can get with a high school or associates degree. Hence the less than 35k a year issue. These statistics also fail to mention how children from one parent families tend to do worse in school. Which pretty much determines if and where they go to college and what they do afterwards. Also, it’s a very different thing to have been married, have an education and started a family with the proper foundation but eventually get divorced or widowed than it is to get pregnant out of wedlock. If your partner isn’t ready to marry you they aren’t ready to have children with you. Knowing the uphill struggle to raise a family as a single parent. Why would you get out of your way to do so? Note, I have nothing against single parents that are divorced or widow. Life happens. I just don’t think it should be glorified. It seems as if women are getting out of their way have children out of wedlock and putting themselves and their children in an unnecessarily difficult situation.

You did your math wrong its 68% who make less than 40k, the 10% who make more than 80k are included in the 32% that make more than 40k.

Sorry— I have 2 Master Degrees, Homeowner, clear WELL into 6 figures, and have great role models for my african american son who is now 7. Additionally, I have 3 educated brothers ( 2 which are married) and parents that live in 50 minute proximity. Parents who have been married for 54 years. So with that said, I made a decision at 31 that I was so tired of dating these shiftless dudes that had a great Resume and no moral fabric. YEs, they were black men, educated , some highly educated– but again no sense of wanting to settle down with a decent educated sister like myself. THEREFORE, i spent the following 2 years after my 31st birthday deciding to focus on who would be a great father. Long story short.. my son is now 7 , he’ s dad I started dated in the interim after the birth, and we just broke up a few months ago… BOTTOM LINE…. experiencing motherhood was my initial focus and was the prize. Anything after was a bonus. I love the idea of a nuclear family— but it did not happen as of yet. You can get married at 90…try birthing a baby at 90… I think NOT. I am continuing to ENJOY Motherhood. ( My son loves piano, soccer, tennis, golf, advanced math classes and is reading entire grade above his current grade). MY MOTTO IS ‘ just let people do whatever they want to do– it is their life not mine. Only GOD can judge you. Struggle— please my support system ( parents and brothers) the best husband I never had. LOL!!! I’m still hopeful on positive and rewarding marriage NOT just any marriage will do. Hats off to dedicated single parents ( moms and dads) and all dedicated parents for that matter. If parents stopping parenting our society is DOOMED.

I doubt that your son will accomplish a fraction of what you have accomplished. Men have it woven into their DNA to compete against their fathers. A boys first competitor is not society or other boys its his father. It is nothing mean or evil its just the way men are created. Men do not have that same drive to compete against their mother. Boys do not see their mother as a competitor. Its not a coincidence that black women have outgained black men when raised by single mothers. Black girls compete against their mothers from preteens on. Regardless of what you do or provide it will not replace the drive he would have had if he was raised and saw what his father has accomplished. This is a hard pill for the so call educated strong black woman to swallow.

Sorry Charles, but I’ve seen many a boy fall by the wayside because a narcissistic father did not WANT the competition. Your theory is complete and hilarious bunk.

I can vouge. My X- wanted a baby more than a family so you guessed it she bailed out 2 months into our planned pregnancy. She dangles a family life and my daughter who will be 2 soon. Everything seems to be getting progressively worse and favoring her including custody court now !! I wanted more and am being outright stripped of any dreams. This should be a crime! Please help I’m trying best I can

What the mother of your daughter did is fundamentally wrong. She will most likely become the custodial parent, unless she is a convicted felon or has a documented drug problem. Furthermore, you will be expected to pay child support until your daughter is 18 years old. The same thing happened to me, my wife walked out on me right after our daughters first birthday. I was a dedicated and involved father, and I continue to be. I have never missed a child support payment and I have never missed a visitation. Women who do this are absolute sociopaths, and are very selfish. I’m afraid you will be dealing with this woman for many years to come, if you choose to do the right thing and stay in your daughter’s life. I wish you all the best, I am on a similar Journey. Best of luck.

The statistics cited aren’t even backed up by the articles linked to.

This article is quite simply a joke

+Ace I’m probably better off than you though. 210lb male mountain of muscle, persevered despite being raised mostly by a single mother.

All these statistics lack an intersectional analysis – the poor outcomes of children from single mother households are highly correlated to racial and economic factors, which are correlated to each other. For example, boor black children are much more likely to live in a single mother household. Poor black children are much more likely to be zoned for failing schools that lack resources to nurture their intellect. It’s a long history of white oppression of blacks through the American system, beginning with slavery, that persist. Now that educated/white women are becoming single mothers, the mainstream is becoming interested. For example, the success of this blog. Let’s not forget all our sisters out here!

You’re not a single mother, you’re a divorced mother. Also: Has the new boyfriend molested them yet? Because he’s probably not interested in you.

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