Custodial Parents: Single Mothers and Single Fathers and Those Darn Statistics

She is a Mother:

* Approximately 84% of custodial parents are mothers, and
* 16% of custodial parents are fathers

Yes we knew this as women have been and will continue to be the majority of primary caretakers of children--even outside of the home--look at our professions.

She is Divorced or Separated:

Of the mothers who are custodial parents:

* 44% are currently divorced or separated
* 33% have never been married
* 22% are married (In most cases, these numbers represent women who have remarried.)
* 1% were widowed

So, contrary to popular belief, most mothers are or have been married. Yes, that means most have, or have had the father, or some other man around. This also means that "single mother" needs a qualifier as there are different types of single mothers: living with the father, not living with the father never-ever, father comes in and out of the house as he pleases....Which "single mother" are you referring to?

Of the fathers who are custodial parents:

* 57% are divorced or separated
* 24% are currently married (In most cases, these numbers represent men who have remarried.)
* 18% have never married
* 1% were widowed

She is Employed:

* 79% of custodial single mothers are gainfully employed
o 50% work full time, year round
o 29% work part-time or part-year

* 92% of custodial single fathers are gainfully employed
o 74% work full time, year round
o 18% work part-time or part-year

Wow, so along with 84% of child caretaking responsibilities, most mothers work. More fathers work, of course, with merely a fraction of child caretaking responsibilities. Super mom IS real.

She and Her Children Do Not Live in Poverty:

* 27.7% of custodial single mothers and their children live in poverty
* 11.1% of custodial single fathers and their children live in poverty

She Does Not Receive Public Assistance:

* 31% of all single parents receive public assistance
* Only 6% of single parents receive TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families)

OMG! I thought all single mothers were poor!!! Not!

She is 40 Years Old or Older:

* 37.7% of custodial mothers are 40 years old or older

She is Raising One Child:

* 56% of custodial mothers are raising one child from the absent parent
* 44% have two or more children living with them

References: United States. Census Department. Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2005. By Timothy S. Grall. Census, 2007. 17 Mar. 2008 [].


41% of first births to unmarried women are actually babies born to cohabiting couples, not "single" women.

- Bumpass, Larry and Lu, Hsien-Hen(2000). "Trends in Cohabitation and Implications for Children's Family Contexts in the United States." Population Studies, 54: 29-41.

So, going back to that 33% of mothers that have never been married--of that 1/3 group, nearly HALF of the mothers are living with their babydaddies. That means the father IS present.

So, again, when you're talking about all this fatherlessness drivel, which single mother households are you blaming for all societal ills? And, how do you know?