The poverty rate of single-parent families, headed by single mothers was 31% in 2019. This is more than 6 times the poverty rate for married-couple families (5%). In the past 20 years. single motherhood has become the new norm across all racial lines.
There is a growing trend of women having children outside of marriage that is no longer attributed to just poor women and minorities. Approximately one third of single mothers are divorced.
About half of single mothers have never married and over 20% are separated or widowed. 6 Half of the single mother population have one child. Over 30% have two.
Depending on the category, as many as 43% of single mothers in the United States live in poverty. With few options available, many live a day to day struggle for basic survival. The following is a breakdown by race of single mothers living in poverty with at least one child.
*ASIAN SINGLE MOMS: 22% *WHITE SINGLE MOMS: 26% *HISPANIC SINGLE MOMS: 34% *BLACK SINGLE MOMS: 35% *NATIVE AMERICAN SINGLE MOMS: 43%
There are over 12 million children, under the age of 18, that are being raised today without a father in the home. The average child support payment is less than $300 a month and is received by only one third of single mothers.
The emotional challenges of loneliness and depression that single mothers experience can be devastating. Feelings of guilt or shame for not being able to provide for their kids, only re-enforces low self esteem and the mental anguish of their circumstances.
Food insecurity is a major concern for almost 30% of single mothers. 10 use food pantries and over one third spend more than half of the income they do have on housing. Single mother head of families face the constant threat of homelessness. Of all the homeless families across the country, over 60% are headed by singe women.
This represents over one fifth of the total homeless population. African Americans account for almost 50% of this total. 38% of single mothers with children receive food stamps while 62% do not. Only about 8.2% of children receive TANF.
Even for those who do receive assistance, the amount is usually far less than the minimum they’d need to stave off hardship like hunger, homelessness, and utility cut-offs. In 2020, TANF benefits were less than 32% of poverty levels for a family of three, in 33 states.
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