Why? - Facts

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Summary of Single Mother Family Facts
Fact 1: 80% of single-parent families are headed by single mothers

J&S Brown Urban Housing Developers has identified single mothers have grown so common in America that today 80 percent of single-parent families are headed by single mothersnearly a third live in poverty. Once largely limited to poor women and minorities, single mothers are now becoming the new “norm.” This prevalence is partly due to the growing trend of children born outside marriage — a societal trend virtually unheard-of decades ago.

According to the 2021 U.S. Census Bureau, About four out of ten children were born to unwed mothers. Nearly two-thirds were born to mothers under the age of 30. Today 1 in 6 children under 18 — a total of about 12.7 million — are being raised without a father. And 29% are jobless the entire year, 22.4% receive unemployment benefits, and only one-third of single mothers receive any child support average amount is only $286 a month. Single mothers are much more likely to be poor than married couples. The poverty rate for single-mother families in 2020 was 23.4%, nearly five times more than the rate (4.7%) for married-couple families.

Fact 3: 30% of Single Mothers spend more than half of their income on housing.

Almost one-third (27.7%) of single mother families were “food insecure,” about one-ninth (11.7%) used food pantries, one third spent more than half their income on housing, which is generally considered the threshold for “severe housing cost burden.” As a result, families headed by single mothers are among the poorest households. More than a third live in poverty and, as such, are highly vulnerable to homelessness.

Among all homeless families nationwide, about two-thirds (60%) were headed by single women, with children representing 21% of the total homeless population; nearly half were African Americans (49%).

Fact 4: Only 11% out of Single Mother households in SNAP receive cash benefits from TANF.

Most (62%) of SNAP* households with children were single mother households. Only 11% received cash benefits from TANF. Though a small percentage, they represent more than 90% of all TANF families.

Although the Affordable Care Act will give more low-income single mothers access to health insurance, nearly half of these families reside in states that have declined to expand their Medicaid programs.

Fact 5: Only two non-expanding Medicaid states are covering parents with incomes or near poverty.

Among the 14 states not expanding Medicaid coverage, the median eligibility level for parents is just 44% FPL***, with only two (2) states — Tennessee, and Wisconsin, covering parents with incomes at or near poverty.

Fact 6: Housing, childcare, and food... No money left for education.

Single mothers often spend over half of their income on housing expenses and a third on childcare, leaving them with less money for educational expenses. Without financial aid, single mother students cannot contribute financially to their educational expenses. One-third graduated with a college degree, while one-sixth had not completed high school.

Snap* - Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

TANF** - Temporary Assistance for Needy Families

FPL*** - Fededral Poverty Level

[NOTE] Data is based on Census 2021

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