The number of single mothers worldwide is on the rise. There are many reasons for this, one of them being, according to single mother statistics, the fact that more and more women are becoming financially independent. As a result, they can afford to have children without the financial support of their partner; they are not entirely reliant on their partners.
According to current data, approximately 2 out of 5 children are born to unmarried moms in the US. There are also 3 million single parents in the United Kingdom. We’ve compiled a list of similar mind-blowing, tragic, and optimistic statistics for you to review.
Ten Key Single Mother Statistics & Facts
- 80% of single-parent families are headed by a single mother.
- The percentage of children living with a single parent varies by race and ethnicity, but not necessarily by religion.
- Single fathers are more likely to be living with a new partner, as compared to single mothers.
- There are nearly 3 million single parents in the UK.
- In the US, there are 15 million families headed by single mothers, statistics show, which is three times more than there were in 1960.
- According to statistics from Canada in 2017, 19.2% of children live with single parents.
- Nearly 60% of children of African descent live with a single parent, and 47% live with a single mom.
- 57% of babies born to millennials have unmarried mothers.
- About one-fifth (19%) of single dads lack a high school degree, while the percentage of single mothers at this same education level is 15%.
- A typical homeless family is comprised of a single mother and two underage children.
General Single Mother Facts and Statistics
To better understand single-parent families’ real situation, we need to start from the very beginning and basic facts. How many single mothers are out there? How do they raise their children, and how this affects their lives? Here are some answers.
1. Single parent statistics from 2019 suggest that there are 15 million single-mother families in the US, which is three times more than there were in 1960.
(Wealthy Single Mommy)
A quarter of US families are headed by a single parent, 80% of which are run by a single mom. Since the Census Bureau counts families with unmarried parents as single-parent families, there’s an additional 7% of children only reportedly living with a single parent.
Furthermore, as per the single mother household statistics from 2018, 40% of US babies were born to single mothers that year, which is only slightly higher than 2005’s (37%) rate.
2. 40.6% of single mothers are currently divorced or separated.
Contrary to common expectations, most single mothers have been married (42.6% of them). Statistics show that 40.6% of them are currently either divorced or separated. Furthermore, 15.7% are still technically married or have remarried.
Finally, 1.2% of single mothers are widows. It’s important to note that divorce statistics show that half of America’s kids come from a divorced home.
3. Single mothers do not necessarily live in poverty.
According to the US’s single-parent statistics from Census data, poverty isn’t the norm for most single-parent families. However, the poverty rate for single-parent families was higher than the US average. 29.2% of single mothers and their children were living in poverty, compared to 16.7% of single fathers and their children.
4. Single-parent families headed by women of color rank worse on the poverty scale.
(Single Mother Guide)
According to single-parent household statistics by race, approximately two out of five families headed by black females have been reported to live in poverty (37%), which is higher than that of white single-mother families (29%) and Asian single-mother families (29%).
In general, single mothers are still more likely to be poor than married couples, for quite obvious reasons. According to 2017’s statistics, the poverty rate for single-mother families was 34%, significantly greater than the poverty rate for married couples (6%).
5. In the case of children living with a single father or single mother, statistics vary by race and ethnicity.
Over 50% of black children live with a single parent, and most of them live with a single mom. Furthermore, 27% of Hispanic children live with a single parent, while the same applies to 17% of white children. The percentage of Asian children living with a single parent is significantly lower (10%).
6. Single mother statistics from the UK suggest there are nearly 3 million single parents in the country, according to 2017’s data from the Office for National Statistics.
(Single Parents on Holiday)
In other words, around a quarter of all families with underage children are single-parent ones. Further research has shown that this is not the most accurate figure since the number of parents who have to manage everything on their own at some point is probably much larger.
According to a study by the University of Sheffield, which observed families with children over six years, up to a third of them were headed by a single parent for at least some period.
7. 57% of the babies born to millennials were born to unmarried mothers.
(Wealthy Single Mommy)
More educated millennial mothers are giving birth outside of marriage. This might be strange in America, but it’s not uncommon in some countries in Europe. For example, a fifth of all couples living together in France is comprised out of married couples.
8. There are 1.2 million divorces in the United States each year, which are helping drive the single mom trends, according to the single-parent household statistics.
(Wealthy Single Mommy)
Traditional heterosexual families with two married parents of the opposite sex are now the minority. Alongside multigenerational families, different kinds of blended families, foster families, families headed by same-sex couples, etc., the rise of single motherhood is the leading cause of “traditional” families becoming a minority.
According to the reports, 46% of millennials and 44% of generation X-ers feel marriage will soon be obsolete.
9. Usually, a homeless family is headed by a single mother caring for two children, as per the single parent statistics.
Homelessness that includes whole families is a tragic social problem affecting all of the US. Most researchers agree on having seen family homelessness spread in recent years.
Families comprise 37% of the whole homeless population and 50% of the sheltered population, and single mothers head most of these family units. Additionally, more than 90% of these homeless single mothers report having been victims of abuse.
10. It’s often erroneously believed that single mothers raise more than one child on average. Statistics prove the opposite.
Statistics show that 53.6% of mothers who have custody over their children are raising only one child, while a smaller portion (46.4%) have two or more children.
Single Mother vs. Single Father Statistics
Fathers and mothers are generally quite different when it comes to their parenting styles. But what happens when they become single parents? Let’s see what the numbers tell us.
11. Single fathers are more likely to live with a new partner than single mothers.
(Pew Social Trends)
According to single parent statistics from the US, there are some striking differences between single mothers and single fathers. For instance, there’s a much greater likelihood for a single father to live with a romantic partner than it is for a single mother (41% vs. 16%).
Additionally, these fathers tend to have higher incomes than single mothers, who are more likely to live in poverty (24% vs. 43%). Also, in households headed by a single father, statistics show that the father usually has a lower education level and is more likely to belong to the white population.
12. About one-fifth (19%) of single dads don’t have a high school degree, while single mothers with the same education level are 15%.
(Pew Social Trends)
The educational level of single fathers is lower than that of married fathers. Compare almost 20% of single fathers lacking a highschool degree with just 10% of fathers living with a spouse. Single parent family statistics show that among single mothers, this share is 15%.
Equally striking differences are present on the higher education end of the spectrum: just 18% of single mothers and 17% of single fathers have obtained bachelor’s degrees, which is extremely low compared to 40% of married fathers.
13. The mortality rate of single fathers (5.8 per 1000 person-years) was notably higher than that of single mothers (1.74 per 1000 person-years) and fathers living with a partner (1.94 per 1000 person-years).
According to the single mother statistics from 2018, single fathers had a high mortality risk. However, further analysis is required to fully understand the exact causes of this rate since it’s necessary to identify what public health interventions might alleviate these risk factors.
14. According to statistics from Canada, 19.2% of children live with single parents.
81.3% of the 19.2% live with their mothers, while only 18.7% live with their fathers, according to these single-parent statistics from 2017. Unsurprisingly, the probability of children living within a single parent family increases as the child ages.
12.1% of babies under one year of age were living within a household headed by a single parent, and in 87.1% of these cases, it was with their mother.
When it comes to children aged 10–14, 22.8% live with a single parent (79.4% living with their mothers, and 20.6% with their fathers).
15. Older statistics show a correlation between growing up with a single parent and the likelihood of committing a crime.
While we lack more recent data on single mother statistics and crime rates, the studies conducted at the very end of the 20th century indicate that a 10% increase in the number of children living in single-parent headed households usually results in a 17% increase in the juvenile crime rate. Typically, the teenagers committing these crimes come from families abandoned by fathers.
What percentage of moms are single?
(Single Mother Guide)
During previous years, single motherhood has grown increasingly common in America. Today, 80% of single-parent families are headed by single mothers, and a third of them live in poverty. Nevertheless, while single motherhood was connected mostly to the poor and minorities, single motherhood is becoming more of an accepted social trend.
What country has the highest rate of single mothers?
A new Pew Research Center study analyzing how household arrangements vary by religion, based on data from 130 countries, indicates that the US has the world’s highest percentage of children living in single-parent households.
Almost a quarter of US children under 18 live with no other adults but their single parent (23%), which is approximately three times more than the rest of the world (7%).
Interestingly, this study revealed that Christian and non-religious families are equally likely to live in this type of household.
Does single parenting affect a child?
Yes. Sociologists found that many single parents’ children are born into undesirable circumstances. More often than not, these children have a likelihood of being poor, breaking the law, or using drugs.
Families headed by single parents usually have less income for additional extra-curricular activities, tutoring, or various school materials, which hinders them from getting scholarships.
Also, these children frequently experience mockery by financially stable peers, which affects their self-confidence. It has been implied that single parents find it difficult to achieve effective parenting and establish discipline.
What percent of fathers are not the real father?
According to paternity test lab reports, about 33% of the paternity tests have a negative result, meaning those undergoing the test turn out not to be the biological father. Still, keep in mind that this refers to a third of men who have a specific reason to undergo a paternity test—it doesn’t represent a third of all men globally.
What percentage of African American families is headed by a single parent?
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, over 1 in 4 African American children in the US live with a single parent, most often with their mother.
Parenting is a big challenge, even if one shares responsibilities with a partner. It requires working hard to establish financial stability and develop a quality parent-child relationship. Modern-day parenting seems to have become even more challenging because our lifestyles are changing at a rapid rate, with new demands constantly being imposed on our lives.
One of the most accurate single parenting facts is that this is especially hard on single parents, who experience twice the challenges, with half the support. Still, what’s surprising is that more and more single mothers willingly choose to raise children on their own and successfully manage this lifestyle. They refuse to remain in unhealthy relationships, choosing rather carve their own way. Hopefully, our single mother statistics have presented a broader insight into what’s behind the figures.