Single Parent Families in Australia

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1.2Social Wellbeing3

1.3Disadvantage, Marginalisation, Power and Privilege4

1.4Brief Report Outline4

2Research Methodology4

2.1Reliability of Data and Limitations5

3Presentation and Analysis5



3.3Survey Evidence10

3.4Survey results – Diagrammed12

3.5Conflict and Functionalist Theories17

3.6Functionalist Theory17

3.7Conflict Theory18

4Conclusion – Evaluation and Decision Making19

4.1Recommendations and Implications19


Melissa Zanesco,
Adderton 6
Study of Society report
Single Parent Families
Ms Brown

1 Introduction

In a survey conducted over a period of ten years, it has been found that the number of single parent families has nearly doubled, and is continuing to increase [Figure 11 - ABS, 2007]. Despite this, single parent families in Australia face many challenges in terms of marginalisation and disadvantage because they do not have the same income advantage and housing accessibility as coupled families. In particular, research has shown that women are even more so disadvantaged than men and, as such, experience further difficulty in raising children and balancing income and housing affordability. Consequently, these disadvantages lead to a lower chance of having power in society and therefore, not receiving the same level of privilege as those in married couples.

2 Social Wellbeing

Social wellbeing comprises a number of contributing factors. The Australian Bureau of Statistics lists areas of concern as being health, education, employment status, economic resources and housing [ABS, 2001]. It is these very factors that directly affect the level of equality shown towards groups in society. In addition, if one’s access to these fundamental indicators is undermined because of their marital status, it can lead to social inequality. Inevitably, this produces unfair rights and opportunities between groups. Inequality arises in societies when individuals or groups within the society do not experience sameness of treatment in relation to class, wealth, education, gender or race [Wikipedia, 2010].

Single parent families are particularly affected by their access to affordable and maintainable housing and their capacity to earn an adequate income in order to support their families. In 1996, the ABS Census of Population and Housing found that at least fifty percent of single parent home owners or private renters spent at least a quarter of their income on either mortgage repayments or rent [Council of Single Mothers & their Children, 2002]. This claim is further supported by findings from the survey completed – which found that of thirty people surveyed, 87% of single parents were living in rented accommodation compared to only 13% of married couples. These statistics confirm that single parent families are hugely disadvantaged in housing ownership, primarily because the income being earned is not sufficient enough to purchase a house and the absence of a second income limits the level of privilege single parents have.

3 Disadvantage, Marginalisation, Power and Privilege

Such disadvantages and consequent marginalisation inevitably produces inequalities in society, therefore hindering their access to power and privilege in the community. Limited power in society results in single parent families receiving inadequate support and privileges [WordNet, 2009]. Power can often be confused with privilege. While the two are interrelated, one’s level of power is determined by their actions and the subsequent status achieved by it. Privilege can be seen as a result of having power. When one achieves power in society, greater privileges are rewarded [WordNet, 2009]. Similarly, marginalisation is also closely related to disadvantage. One is disadvantaged when they are not given equal access to opportunities. Disadvantages are often caused by not having...
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