Single Parent Families
Chelsea P. Blackstone- Strother
Lewis Clark State College
The transition from a “nuclear” family normative, to single parent was one of the most dramatic social changes of the 20th century (Furstenburg, 2009). Research has shown that the growing rate of single- parent homes in our nation correlates to the increase in child poverty. The effects on a child who grows up in an economically disadvantaged home are not the only challenges they face, increase in high school dropout, unemployment and teen pregnancy will come into play for these children (Mathers,2010). However, there are many children in single families that go on to succeed, President Barrack Obama came from a single family, yet he will be the first to tell you that single parents face weighty barriers . A social worker coming into the field will need comprehensive knowledge of this adverse population and the challenges that the single parent family undergoes.
Demographics of America’s New Family
4 out of 10 children are born to unwed mothers in the United States, two thirds of the mothers are under the age of thirty (Division of Vital Statistics, 2012). One in four American children lives without a father in the home. Half or more of today’s children will likely spend at least part of their childhood in a single parent home. According to the Census Bureau, out of 12 million single families 80% of them are in mother-child home. The proportion of children being raised by single mothers has increased dramatically from 6% in the 1950’s to 24% in 2010 (prb.org, 2010). This equates to 18.1 million children growing up without a father in the home. In 2013, 46% of single parents were non- Hispanic white and 28 percent were African American (Census.gov). It is common for single parents to suffer from low wages the median income for a single mother family was $25,493, which is 31% of the $81,000 median income for a two-parent family. The poverty rate of a child from a single parent home is sadly three times the rate it is for children in two parent homes. This can be due to multiple reasons, one being of those who are supposed to collect child support, only 31% claim they are able to obtain it (census.gov). Special Issues and concern particular to this population
As per a study done by Golombok and, MacCallum, “of four representative samples of US single mothers families, it was found that the single most contributing factor to the difficulties experienced by children later in life was the lower family income associated with single parenthood.” Once again, the median income for the single parent is $25,493 this is bordering on poverty. A chart found on USDA statistics showed, One third of single moms are food , “insecure” and another third spend over half of their earned money on housing which considers them for the threshold for “severe housing cost burden”(Usda.gov,2013).The Single parent will encounter many hard times in one year. In 2011, 42% of single parents experienced at least one of the nine hardships measured by the Census Bureau to compute economic hardship. The most common of these is not having enough food to eat. The others on the list of common hardships single parent- child families encountered were, 32% of single parents claimed they had unpaid utilities/ rent, and 23 percent needed to see a dentist (census.gov/wellbeing,2013). Single parents are also time poor, the parent has to work full time, sometimes with an additional job to provide for the family. This leaves little time to enjoy together for homework, or quality time (Spryrou.2013). 30 years ago having a child out of marriage was unheard of. American children were born into families and raised by two parents and the only exception to this was a parental death. Over the last two decades, divorce has become surprisingly common as well as mothers deciding to have children out of marriage. Families of this type are in...
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