Single Fathers Single Mothers And Child Custody Statistics

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Single Fathers, Single Mothers, and Child Custody Statistics

There is a lot of speculation out there when it comes to single parents – especially single mothers. For instance, most individuals tend to believe that most single mothers who choose to raise their kids on their own are either unemployed or receive government assistance.

However, if you would look at the United States Census data obtained from 2015, the statistics concerning single mothers, single fathers, and child custody would most surprise you.

Numbers Indicating Single Parents

As per the reports presented by the Custodial Mothers & Fathers and the Child Support (2015), the statistics presented by the United States Census Bureau indicated that there are around 13.7 million single parents in the United States. These single parents are raising as many as 22.4 million children. The given number currently represents about 27% of children under the age of 21 years in the United States of America alone.

Even with the negative perception that single mothers “selfishly” choose to raise their kids independently, the majority of which ends up raising their children alone started with a committed relationship and never intended to raise their kids on their own. 

The typical picture of a single mother as per the United States Census Bureau indicates the following:

A Single Mother

The assumption that most mothers are single is very accurate. Census data reports:

Around 80.4 percent of custodial parents turn out to be mothers

  • 19.6 percent of custodial parents (about 1 in 5) tend to be fathers

A Divorced & Separated Mother

The speculation that most single mothers tend to be single from the outset is mostly false. Out of the existing single mothers who are serving as custodial parents:

  • Around 40.6 percent of single mothers are separated or divorced currently
  • About 42.6 percent of single mothers have never been into a marriage
  • Approximately 15.7 percent of single mothers have been married 
  • Around 1.2 percent of single mothers serving as the custodial parent is widowed

Employed Single Mothers

There is another widespread speculation about single mothers that most are unemployed. However, this notion is also false by the Census data:

  • Around 50 percent of single mothers serving as custodial parents are full-time employed working at a leading organization
  • About 19.9 percent of them did not have a proper job

Single Mothers & Government Assistance

 There is another increasing assumption that most single mothers tend to receive government assistance. The actual data reports:

  • Around 48.5 percent of single mothers serving the role of custodial parents received some government assistance
  • About 36.6 percent of them received the benefits out of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP)
  • Around 30.6 percent of single fathers serving as the custodial parents also received some government assistance

Raising One Child as a Single Mother

There is another assumption that most single mothers are raising multiple children at a time. The data reports state:

  • 53.6 percent of custodial parents in the form of single mothers are raising a child from the other partner being absent
  • Around 46.4 percent of them have two or more children with them after receiving the children’s custody

The Decision of Becoming the Custodial Parent

The census data reports found that in around 51 percent of the cases involving the custody of the child, both parents mutually come to the agreement that mothers should serve as the custodial parent. In about 29 percent of custody-based decisions, there is a decision without assistance from a mediator or the court. 

At the same time, 11 percent of cases involve the help of a mediator, and another 5 percent of the decision gets determined after an in-depth custody evaluation. When compared, only 4 percent of the cases for custody required trials before the child’s custody decision. Overall, around 91 percent of the custody-related decisions involved no requirement of the family court to make the decision. 

The Rising Numbers of Single Fathers

While the total number of households that are run by single fathers is quite less when compared with that of single mothers, the overall rate is increasing rapidly in the modern era. Based on 2011 data reports, the total number of households that were run by single fathers was just around 8 percent in the United States. 

There were only 300,000 some 55 years ago. By 2011, the number had risen significantly by as much as 900 percent to around 2.6 million, implying that single fathers now run about 25 percent of households with custody of their children. 

Single Parents & Cohabitation

There are higher chances that single parents tend to live with some cohabitation partner. On average, around 41 percent of the single fathers in the United States tend to have another significant partner within the residence. Quite high when compared with approximately 16 percent of single mothers in the United States. It implies, in most cases, the partner of the single fathers shares most of the parenting responsibilities when cohabiting.

Single Parents Statistics 

In 2019, there were about 15.76 million children living with a single mother in the United States, and about 3.23 million children living with a single father. The number of children living with a single mother is down from its peak in 2012, and the number of children living with a single father is down from its peak in 2005.

Child Support & Custody

2013 data obtained from the Census Bureau in the United States of America observed that there are around 14.4 million custodial parents. And about 48.6 percent of parents had a legal or informal agreement for child custody & support.

single parents infographic