Single-parent households a growing share of American family life
The number of single-parent households has tripled in the last half century, bringing challenges and change, says The Atlantic in an article that noted the "mysterious and alarming rise" of mom-only and dad-only headed households.
Single moms head one-fourth of American households, dads 6 percent, it said, noting that "single parent households exist in a different socioeconomic pool than married households."
A report by Pew Research Center on so-called breadwinner moms had noted that single moms earn a lot less than married moms who work. The married family median income is about four times that of the single-mom family.
"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," The Atlantic article noted. "Married mothers tend to be older and are disproportionately white and college-educated."
"There is much more research to do, but this much we know: Single parents work less and learn less because they are the sole caretakers for their children. A recent report by the International Labor Organization shows that the U.S. is the only country in the top 15 most competitive ones that does not mandate paid maternity leave, paid sick leave and does not guarantee paid vacation time. New parents in the U.S. are guaranteed their jobs for 12 weeks after the arrival of a new baby under the Family Medical Leave Act of 1993," wrote authors Apara Mathur, Hao Fu and Peter Hansen.
Many of the challenges facing single-parent households are economic, starting with the fact that child care is costly. Single parents on average earn substantially less, and single parents may struggle with a standard work schedule, while those who don't work one may be less likely to get training or receive promotions. They end up, the article said, less likely to have benefits like health insurance and pensions.
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