Single Parent Statistics in 2022 (Mothers vs. Fathers Data)

Raising children is already full of non-stop challenges, but the absence of a partner can result in added stress and pressure.

Single parent statistics show that single parenthood is more common than ever and many often referred stereotypes are just inaccurate.

Single Parent Statistics

Highlights of statistics on single parent homes:

  1. 80% of all single parents in the U.S. are single mothers
  2. 52.9% of single mothers are millennials.
  3. 15.6 million children live in single-mother households in the U.S.
  4. 52.3% of single mothers have never been married, 29.3% are divorced.
  5. Single mothers have a 35.6% smaller median income than single fathers.
  6. Only 45.9% of single parents receive full child support.
  7. Annual cost of child care is $10,174, which is 35% of a single-parent income.
  8. 28.9% of single-mother households live below the poverty level
  9. 31% of single fathers are living with their own parents.

1. 80% of all single parents in the U.S. are single mothers.

According to the latest Census single parents statistics (2021), there are over 11 million single-parent families with their own children under 18 years old. (1)

Single Parent FamiliesSingle MothersSingle Fathers
11,016,00080%20%

Single mother statistics show that out of 11 million single-parent households, 80% (8,765,000) of single-parent households are led by mothers. 

Single father statistics show, that 20% (2,251,000) of single-parent households are led by fathers.

Another Census single parent family statistics dataset shows single parents make up a bit more than one quarter (26.7%) of all American family groups raising underage children. (2)

Married Parent
Couples
Unmarried Parent
Couples
Single ParentsOther Parenting
Relatives
57.5%4.7%26.7%11.1%

Out of all family groups there are 23,743,000 married parent couples, 1,953,000 unmarried couples, 11,016,000 single parents, and 4,574,000 other parent relatives. 

2. 52.9% of single mothers are millennials.

Millennials are the largest and most ethnically and racially diverse generation in U.S. history. (3)

According to Census statistics on single parents (2021), around half (52.9%) of single mothers in the U.S. are millennials. (4)

Single ParentsAges 15-24
Gen Z
Ages 25-39
Millennials
Ages 40-54
Gen X
Ages 55+
Baby Boomers
Mothers7.5%52.9%35.7%3.9%
Fathers2.4%37%49.3%11.3%

The single parents demographics data shows the second-largest mothers age group being gen x (2,862,000), followed by gen z (601,000) and baby boomers (316,000).

The majority of single fathers are gen x (861,000), followed by millennials (645,000), baby boomers (197,000), and gen z (42,000).

According to Census single parents statistics by race (2021), 61% of single mothers are white. (2)

Single ParentsWhiteBlackAsianOther
Mothers61%31%3%5%
Fathers73%18%3%6%

The single mother ethnicity statistics show the majority of 61% (5,362,000) of single mothers being white, 31% (2,682,000) black, 3% (242,000) Asian, and 5% (479,000) of other races and combinations.

Somewhat similar ethnic ratios also stand for single fathers, although black ethnic group is smaller than single mothers.

The single father ethnicity statistics show the majority of 73% (1,637,000) of single fathers being white, 18% (416,000) black, 3% (71,000) Asian, and 6% (128,000) of other races and combinations.

3. 15.6 million children live in single-mother households in the U.S.

According to Census single-parent child statistics (2021), 19,172,000 children live in single-parent households, with 15.6 million in households led by single mothers. (5)

Living With
Both Parents
Living With
Mother Only
Living With
Father Only
Living With
Neither Parent
50,609,00015,607,0003,565,0002,788,000

The data shows that 70% of children live with both parents, 22% live with mothers, 5% with fathers, and 4% with neither parent. 

Contrary to popular belief, the average single-parent household has two members. 

Living With1 Child2 Children3 Children4+ Children
Mother Only53.7%31%10.3%5%
Father Only62.6%27.8%7.4%2.3%

The single-parent households statistics show that more single fathers are living with 1 child in the household than single mothers. (1)

About 53.7% of single mothers are raising 1 child, 31% are raising 2 children, 10.3% are raising 3 children, and 5% are raising 4 or more children.

About 62.6% of single fathers are raising 1 child, 27.8% are raising 2 children, 7.4% are raising 3 children, and 2.3% are raising 4 or more children.

4. 52.3% of single mothers have never been married, 29.3% are divorced.

According to Census single-parent families statistics (2021), around half of single mothers have never been married. (1)

Single ParentsNever MarriedDivorcedSeparatedWidowed
Mothers52.3%29.3%14.7%3.7%
Fathers41.1%37.8%16.8%4.3%

The single motherhood statistics show that 52.3% of single mothers are never married, 29.3% are divorced, 14.7% are separated, and 3.7% are widowed.

The single fatherhood statistics show that 41.1% of single fathers are never married, 37.8% are divorced, 16.8% are separated, and 4.3% are widowed.

Interestingly enough, more single fathers are divorced than single mothers (37.8% vs. 29.3%). 

5. Single mothers have a 35.6% smaller average income than single fathers.

According to Census single-parent income statistics (2021), single mothers’ mean income is 35.6% smaller than single fathers. (6, 7)

Single Mother
Mean Income
Single Father
Mean Income
Married Couple
Mean Income
$58,917$84,466$147,704

This income data shows the strong discrepancy between single parents. (ab)

The average single-mother income is $58,917, which is 35.6% lower than the average single-father income of $84,466.

The average single-father income is $84,466, which is 54.5% lower than the average married-couple income of $147,704. (8)

The wage gap between single mothers and single fathers is real and notable.

The difference in median earnings is even worse.

Single Mother
Median Earnings
DifferenceSingle Father
Median Earnings
$29,71851.3%$50,237

Another Census single mother vs. single father statistics shows that the wage gap between earnings is even higher than with income. (4)

The median single mother earnings is $29,718, which is 51.3% lower than the median single father earnings of $50,237.

6. Only 45.9% of single parents receive full child support. 

According to the latest Census single parenting statistics on child support, less than half (45.9%) of all single parents receive full child support and 30.2% don’t receive any support. (9)

Custodial ParentsReceive Full
Child Support
Receive Partial
Child Support
Receive No
Child Support
Mothers46.4%24.9%28.7%
Fathers43.1%18.5%38.4%
All45.9%23.9%30.2%

The single mother child support statistics show that 46.4% receive full child support, 24.9% receive partial child support, and 28.7% receive no child support.

The single father child support statistics show that 43.1% receive full child support, 18.5% receive partial child support, and 38.4% receive no child support.

Custodial ParentsAvg. Child Support
Received
DifferenceAvg. Child Support
to be Received
Mothers$3,505-45.7%$5,580
Fathers$3,022-52.6%$5,177
All$3,431-46.7%$5,519

Single parenthood is difficult, but the struggles don’t end here. Single parents receive, on average, 46.7% less child support than what is expected. 

Single mothers statistics show that single mothers receive, on average, 45.7% less child support than expected.

Single fathers statistics show that single fathers receive, on average, 52.6% less child support than expected.

7. Annual cost of child care is $10,174, which is 35% of a single-parent income.

It’s no secret that child care is getting more expensive year over year.

According to Child Care Aware single-parent home statistics, the annual cost of child care is $10,174, which is a whopping 35% of a single-parent income. (10)

Annual
Child Care
From Married
Couple Income
From Single
Parent Income
National
Recommendation
$10,17410%+35%+7% max

The annual child care cost of $10,174 makes up over 10% of married couples’ income and 35% of single-parent incomes.

Interestingly enough, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ national recommendation is to spend up to 7% of household income on childcare.

Even in most conservative families, this is simply not realistic.

According to Census single parent employment statistics, more single fathers are employed full time than single mothers. (9)

Single ParentsEmployed
Full-Time
Employed
Part-Time
Unemployed
Mothers51.4%26.9%21.7%
Fathers74.3%16.5%9.2%

The data shows that 51.4% of single mothers are employed full-time, 26.9% part-time, and 21.7% are unemployed.

The data shows that 74.3% of single fathers are employed full-time, 16.5% part-time, and 9.2% are unemployed.

It’s clear that more single mothers work part-time while more single fathers work full-time. There’s no way around it as everything is getting more expensive.

According to homeschooling statistics, the average cost of homeschooling is $700-$1,800 per student annually.

8. 28.9% of single-mother households live below the poverty level.

According to Census Single Parent poverty statistics, 25.8% of all single parents live below the poverty level. (11)

Single ParentsBelow
Poverty Level
Employed
(BPL)
Unemployed
(BPL)
Not in Labor Force
(BPL)
Mothers28.9%40.6%11.7%47.7%
Fathers13.8%33.2%11.1%55.6%

The single mother poverty statistics show that 28.9% (2,531,000) of single-mother households live below the poverty level.

The single father poverty statistics show that 13.8% (310,000) of single-father households live below the poverty level.

Sadly, the numbers suggest that single mothers are more than twice as likely to live below the poverty level than single fathers.

Single ParentsChildren Below
100% Poverty
Received Food StampsReceived Public Assistance
Mothers5,455,00045%7%
Fathers3,565,00022%2%

According to another Census dataset (2021), about 9% of all single parents receive public assistance. (12)

The data shows that 45% of single-mother families receive food stamps and 7% public assistance. 

The data shows that 22% of single-father families receive food stamps and 2% public assistance.

9. 31% of single fathers are living with their own parents.

According to Pew Research Center single-parent household statistics, 31% of single fathers are living with their own parents. (13)

Single Mothers
With Own Parent
Single Fathers
With Own Parent
Cohabiting Couples
With Own Parent
Married Couples
With Own Parent
22%31%4%4%

The single-mother household statistics show that 22% of single mothers are living with their own parents. (13)

The single-father household statistics show that 31% of single fathers are living with their own parents.

Interestingly enough, living with their own parent is significantly more common among single dads than single moms.

The research suggests that grandparents could play an important role for every grandchild in single father or single-mother households.

FAQ

What is a single parent?

A single parent is a parent who lives without a partner or spouse to support the child and has daily caring responsibilities for a dependent child or children.

How many parents are divorced?

According to the latest Census data, about 31% or 3,417,000 single parents are divorced.

How many single-parent households in the U.S.?

According to the latest Census data, there are 11,016,000 single-parent households in the U.S.

How many children live in single-parent households?

According to the latest Census data, 26.4% or 19,172,000 children live in single-parent households. About 22% of children live with single mothers and 5% of children live with single fathers.

What is the average income of single-parent households?

According to the latest Census data, the average Single Parent income is $71,692. The average Single Mother income is 35.6% lower than single father income.

How many white families are single parent?

According to the latest Census data, there are 6,999,000 white single parents.

Are there more single moms or dads?

There are more single moms than dads. According to the latest Census data, 80% of all single parents are single mothers and 20% are single fathers.

What percentage of single parents are employed?

According to the latest Census data, 62.9% of single parents are employed full-time, 21.7% are employed part-time, and 15.4% are unemployed.

What is the single-parent rate?

One in four parents is a single parent. According to the latest Census data, 26.7% of all parents are single parents.

What is a single father?

A single father is a father who lives without a partner or spouse to support the child and has daily caring responsibilities for a dependent child or children.

How many fathers are divorced?

According to the latest Census data, about 37.8% or 852,000 single fathers are divorced, 16.8% separated, 4.3% widowed, and 41.1% never married.

How many single fathers in the U.S.?

According to the latest Census data, there are 2,251,000 single-father households in the U.S. Single fathers make up 20% of all single parents.

How many children live in single-father households?

According to the latest Census data, 5% or 3,565,000 children live in single-father households. While 22% or 15,607,000 children live in single-mother households. 

What is the average income of single fathers?

According to the latest Census data, the average single father income is $84,466, which is 54.5% lower than the average married couple income of $147,704.

How do single fathers’ incomes compare to single mothers?

According to the latest Census data, the average single father income is $84,466, which is 35.6% higher than the average single mother income of $58,917.

What percentage of single parents are single fathers?

According to the latest Census data, 20% of all single parents are single fathers.

What percentage of single fathers are employed?

According to the latest Census data, 74.3% of single fathers are employed full-time, 16.5% part-time, and 9.2% are unemployed.

What is the single-father rate?

According to the latest Census data, 20% of all single parents are single fathers.

What is a single mother?

A single mother is a mother who lives without a partner or spouse to support the child and has daily caring responsibilities for a dependent child or children.

How many mothers are divorced?

According to the latest Census data, about 29.3% or 2,565,000 single mothers are divorced, 14.7% separated, 3.7% widowed, and 52.3% never married.

How many single mothers in the U.S.?

According to the latest Census data, there are 8,765,000 single-mother households in the U.S. Single mothers make up 80% of all single parents.

How many children live in single-mother households?

According to the latest Census data, 22% or 15,607,000 children live in single-mother households. While 5% or 3,565,000 children live in single-father households.

What is the average income of single mothers?

According to the latest Census data, the average single mother income is $58,917, which is 35.6% lower than the average single father income of $84,466.

What percentage of single parents are single mothers?

According to the latest Census data, 80% of all single parents are single mothers.

What percentage of single mothers are employed?

According to the latest Census data, 51.4% of single mothers are employed full-time, 26.9% part-time, and 21.7% are unemployed.

What percentage of single white mothers?

According to the latest Census data, 61% of single mothers are white.

What percentage of single black mothers?

According to the latest Census data, 31% of single mothers are black.

What is the single-mother rate?

According to the latest Census data, 80% of all single parents are single mothers.

References

  1. United States Census Bureau. 2021. America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2021. Table FG6. One-parent Unmarried Family Groups with Own Children Under 18, by Marital Status of the Reference Person: 2021. Link
  2. United States Census Bureau. 2021. America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2021. Table FG10. Family Groups: 2021 Link
  3. Investopedia. 2022. Millennials: Finances, Investing, and Retirement. Link
  4. United States Census Bureau. 2021. America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2021. Table A3. Parents With Coresident Children Under 18, by Living Arrangement, Sex, and Selected Characteristics: 2021 Link
  5. United States Census Bureau. 2021. America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2021. Table C2. Household Relationship and Living Arrangements of Children Under 18 Years, by Age and Sex: 2021 Link
  6. United States Census Bureau. 2021. HINC-04. Presence of Children Under 18 Years old–Households, by Total Money Income, Type of Household, Race and Hispanic Origin of Householder. 2022. Female Householder, No Spouse Present, With Children Under 18 Years. Link
  7. United States Census Bureau. 2021. HINC-04. Presence of Children Under 18 Years old–Households, by Total Money Income, Type of Household, Race and Hispanic Origin of Householder. 2022. Male Householder, No Spouse Present, With Children Under 18 Years. Link
  8. United States Census Bureau. 2021. HINC-04. Presence of Children Under 18 Years old–Households, by Total Money Income, Type of Household, Race and Hispanic Origin of Householder. 2022. Married-Couple Family Households, With Children Under 18 Years. Link
  9. United States Census Bureau. 2020. Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support. Link
  10. CNBC. 2022. Child care now costs more than $10,000 per year on average—here’s why that’s a problem. Link
  11. United States Census Bureau. 2021. America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2021. Table FG5. One-parent Unmarried Family Groups with Own Children Under 18, by Labor Force Status of the Reference Person: 2021. Link
  12. United States Census Bureau. 2021. America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2021. Table C8. Poverty Status, Food Stamp Receipt, and Public Assistance for Children Under 18 Years by Selected Characteristics: 2021. Link
  13. Pew Research Center. 2018. The Changing Profile of Unmarried Parents. Link

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