1 in 4 children in US raised by a single parent

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Registered: 04-07-2002
1 in 4 children in US raised by a single parent
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Wed, 04-27-2011 - 2:12pm
1 in 4 children in US raised by a single parent One in four children in the United States is being raised by a single parent - a percentage that has been on the rise and is higher than other developed countries, according to a report released Wednesday. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2014884815_apussingleparenthomes.html By CHRISTINE ARMARIO Associated Press MIAMI — One in four children in the United States is being raised by a single parent - a percentage that has been on the rise and is higher than other developed countries, according to a report released Wednesday. Of the 27 industrialized countries studied by the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, the U.S. had 25.8 percent of children being raised by a single parent, compared with an average of 14.9 percent across the other countries. Ireland was second (24.3 percent), followed by New Zealand (23.7 percent). Greece, Spain, Italy and Luxemborg had among the lowest percentages of children in single-parent homes. Experts point to a variety of factors to explain the high U.S. figure, including a cultural shift toward greater acceptance of single-parent child rearing. The U.S. also lacks policies to help support families, including childcare at work and national paid maternity leave, which are commonplace in other countries. "When our parents married, there was a sense that you were marrying for life," said Edward Zigler, founder and director of Yale's Edward Zigler Center in Child Development and Social Policy. "That sense is not as prevalent." Single parents in the U.S. were more likely to be employed - 35.8 percent compared to a 21.3 percent average - but they also had higher rates of poverty, the report found. "The in-work poverty is higher in the U.S. than other OECD countries, because at the bottom end of the labor market, earnings are very low," said Willem Adema, a senior economist in the group's social policy division. "For parents, the risk is higher because they have to make expenditures on childcare costs." The Paris-based organization looked at a broad sector of indicators that affected families and children, including childhood poverty, early education and amount of time spent on parental care. Across the nations examined, preschool enrollment has grown from 30 to 50 percent between 1998 and 2007. The average enrollment was 58.2 percent, while in the U.S. it was lower. The report noted that public spending on child welfare and education is higher in the U.S. than in other countries - $160,000 per child compared to $149,000. However, the authors say most of that money is spent after the crucial early childhood years. "This means early investment - including childcare and support for families around the time of birth - could be strengthened," the authors wrote in a separate paper examining the United States. The study pointed out that the U.S. is the only OECD country that does not have a national paid parental leave policy. Some states have started to adopt such policies, but most parents are offered 12 weeks of unpaid leave. This is particularly difficult for unwed mothers, who may not be able to afford to take time off, Zigler said. "We have not built in the kind of national support systems for families and children that other countries have," he said. Childhood poverty rates in the U.S. are also expected to climb - 23.5 percent from 20 percent. Adema said the rise is a direct result of the financial crisis and higher unemployment rates. "The financial strain causes all sorts of other strain, so ultimately it might contribute to family dissolution," Adema said. "At the same time, it might bring some families together. I suspect that the response differs across families." The single parent phenomenon has been occurring over recent decades. The study noted the U.S. and England have higher teenage birthrates than other countries, partially contributing to the higher single-parent numbers, though the proportion of children born outside marriage was not significantly higher than the other countries. Christina Gibson Davis, a professor at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy, said changing gender roles, the rise of contraception, high incarceration rates in some communities and an acceptance of having children out of wedlock have all contributed to the growing number. Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, added it isn't being a single parent in itself that raises difficulties. "Single moms do a brilliant and amazing job raising their children," said Terry O'Neill, president of the National Organization for Women. "It is also true that single moms in this country are systemically underpaid, and systematically under-resourced and systemically unrespected. It's not the fact they are single moms that makes things difficult."

 nwtreehugger  

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Registered: 08-30-2002

The thing that we need to remember is that gay and lesbian couples, and



iVillage Member
Registered: 04-07-2002
That's very true. There are many valid reasons why a couple may not be married. Doesn't mean that they aren't good parents.

Plus, having just one parent isn't always a horrible thing. I'm actually quite happy that my mom divorced my dad when I was 2. Life might have been tough on the financial front but I honestly believe it was much happier in every other way.

 nwtreehugger  

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Registered: 02-05-2011
Thu, 04-28-2011 - 12:46pm
Many children are born with no father in the home. This is often by choice of their mother. I'd bet the vast majority of children with one parent, have mom as their custodial parent. To obtain welfare, to get many benefits, a woman is greatly helped to have a kid, no dad in the home, no job, and no assets.

The intention has been to help women and children. It has also created an incentive for many women to have a child out of marriage. Our culture tends to favor mothers, still using tender years doctrine (while concurrently trying to deny it). Our culture is also hostile toward fathers. Often they have no chance to get custody of their children, and will be seen as a financial object to be sucked dry by the ex wife, kids and court.

I don't see this changing anytime soon. If anything, we will have more single moms, as putative dads see having kids as a raw deal if mom becomes displeased.
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Registered: 04-07-2002

There will always be those who take advantage of the system.

 nwtreehugger  

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Registered: 06-06-2001

"If you look at divorce, most men end up with a much better lifestyle than their ex-wives."

I'm not sure that's true, and it's highly subjective anyway.

I wonder why women initiate divorce more often than men if they're likely to be in a worse situation than the man is after the divorce.

"The proportion of divorces initiated by women ranged around 60% for most of the 20th century, and climbed to more than 70% in the late 1960s when no-fault divorce was introduced: so says a just-released study by law professor Margaret Brinig of George Mason University in Arlington, Virginia and Douglas Allen, economist at Vancouver's Simon Fraser University."--Candis Mclean, http://www.fact.on.ca/newpaper/ar990111.htm

Personally, I don't understand the statistics in the article or think that they're actually very valid.

Liz


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Registered: 04-07-2002
Welcome to the board!

And that's why several us of pointed out that the numbers couldn't be applied to just one or two groups. Same sex marriage isn't allowed in most states & yet many have adopted children. That's just one example that would skew the figures.

As for whether women have it 'better' or 'worse' than their exes....it depends greatly on how well they get along & how involved the dad wants to be. Still, in my experience, women generally have the kids the majority of the time (even in shared custody cases). It's tough being the only parent at home the majority of the time. The men generally have more 'personal time'. Again, not always - you can't make blanket statements. And I'm not faulting all men. Some continue to be great dads & work hard with their exes to make sure that the kids have what they need. However, there are many who aren't. That also isn't broken down in the figures.

As for why the majority of women file - sometimes it has to do with the type of laws in any given state. My state has community property laws (aside from gifts, anything gained during the marriage is split equally...anything brought into the marriage remains with that individual).

 nwtreehugger  

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-30-2002

My experience has been that women file, because the men simply



iVillage Member
Registered: 03-18-2000
"having just one parent isn't always a horrible thing"
I agree. A mother can spend more time with the child instead of taking into account a DH/BF/SO.

 


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Registered: 01-21-2011

Divorce has become a complicated thing. Some people don't marriage seriously and others legimately need to escape a bad situation. I think adults who can't tough out the bad spots need to pony up. But then a cheating parent or one who is abusive or destructive to a family needs to be left behind. I have a few divorced friends, and my personal expereince has been that families step in to fill the gaps. When my husband worked insane hours last year, my boys spent more time with my parents due to need and were better for it. I think studies like this fail to take in the whole picture of complex family relationships.

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Registered: 03-18-2000
Sat, 04-30-2011 - 11:08am
"families step in to fill the gaps"
Good point!

 


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