You might be wondering why I want to discuss the facts about single parenting. As I wrote in the previous section, it is important for single parents to realize that they are not alone and I hope these facts will help you just do that. :)
What is Single Parenting?
A single parent family is a family living together in a home atmosphere where only one parent is present with one or more children. This is in opposition to a family with two parents living in the home. A married couple can also live in a single family setting for extended periods of time if one of the spouses travels for long periods of time or is imprisoned for instance. In brief, it is any family with one or more children where one of the parents has to serve a double parental role of mother and father for an extended or permanent period.
Single Parenting Statistics
According to the last US census from 2000, there are 12,900,103 female single-parent households (12.2% of total households), and 4,394,012 male single parent households (4.2% of total households).
That's a total of 17,294,115 single-parent families in the US. The married couple households account for 51.7% of total households against 16.2% for single-parent households.
Between 1990 (previous census) and 2000, female family households with own children under 18 years have increased both in number and proportion, from 6.0 million (6.6% of all households) 7.6 million (7.2% of all households) in 2000.
Some facts about single parenting to dispel a few myths
A cultural myth is that single parents are an aberration, not the norm. As a result, single parents often feel isolated and different. The numbers above speak by themselves to show that this is untrue, single parents are far from the exception!
Probably the most common myth about single parents is that single moms live thanks to child support money they receive from their kids' dad. This is not true. According to the census, the average amount of child support a single parent receives yearly is $4,900.00. I'm sure that you agree that one person could not survive with this money, so what about a family?
This explains why most single parents need to work. Many single moms with custody of their minor children work part-time. The average working salary of a single parent is $28,000.00. Add this to the amount of child support received and you'll see that a single parent has an average income of $32,900.00.
I think we'll all agree that it definitely dispels the myth that single moms, in particular, live in luxury thanks to child support money. These facts about single parenting are proof that the story is rather different.
Of course, there is the myth of the single family as a broken home. Several well-researched studies document good outcomes in single-parent families. "Single parenting develops the parent's independence and ability to handle a variety of situations." (Shaw, 1991.) "Children benefit from increased levels of responsibility." (Amata, 1987) "Parental- and child-health outcomes were related to larger networks of social support and good communication within the single-parent family." (Hanson, 1986.).
In addition, a study by University of Michigan of over 6,000 adults had very positive conclusions for children of divorced parents. It came out that, statistically, adults whose parents divorced during their childhood were just as likely (43%) to be happily married as those who grew up in a two-parent home.
Another common myth is that single teenage moms are lazy. This is totally untrue. Many finish high school and even go on to graduate college. One sure thing is that being a teenage single mom is probably one of the most difficult things. They have to balance finishing school and working, while caring for their young child. Many are living in poverty to make matters worse.
I'll finish with just a few more facts about single parenting:
About 80% of children raised by a single parent live with their mom
Only 15% of custodial parents are fathers
Almost 30% of children 18 years old or younger live in a single parent household
Just under 54% of single parent work full time. 30% work part time
About 58% of single parents have an agreement on support payments with the other parent