single mother with baby

Single mother statistics and demographics provide enlightening insight into the changing presence of single mothers in the United States and throughout the world. The Life of a Single Mother blog has compiled interesting data about the lives of single parents. Single mother statistics show a significantly increasing number of single mothers raising children in the U.S. In addition,  demographics show that single mothers face economic challenges.

Child with single parent

Single Mother Statistics: 1 in 4 Parents is Unmarried


Fifty years ago, fewer than one in ten parents living with a child was unmarried. Today, that number has grown to one in four. This statistic shows the growing sector of single-parent households.


Today, 15 million single mothers in the U.S. are raising 22 million children. One in five children in the U.S. is living with a single mom. The number of households led by a single mother has increased by 300% since 1960.

woman in UK

Where Do Single Parents Live?


An interesting statistic is that the country with the highest percentage of children 0-14 living with single parents in the U.K. About 26% of children in the UK live in single mother-led households. Across the world, 17% of children live with a single parent. Overall, 88% of those children live with single mothers.


Other countries with high percentages of single-parent households are Lithuania (25%) Denmark Latvia, and the U.S. (23%).


 Louisiana has the greatest number of single mother-led households. Other states with between 45 and over 50% of children born to unmarried mothers include Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Mississippi, Florida, South Carolina, and West Virginia. Mississippi has the greatest number of children born to unmarried women.

single father with baby

Single Mothers & Single Fathers


 Single mothers account for the majority of single parents in the U.S. In fact, 86% of single-parent families in the U.S. are led by mothers. While 19 million children under 18 are living with a single mother, only 3 million are living with a single father.


Single Mother Demographics and Issues 

Many single mothers face economic struggles. Approximately 2 in 3 work outside the home. However, 40% of working single mothers are employed in low wage jobs. 1 in 6 single mothers did not complete high school, which may keep them in low wage jobs. In addition, they often do not have access to paid family leave. About 2 in 3 of single mother-led households receive free or reduced-price meals.

cash register

Cost of Living for Single Mothers

Living expenses account for a high percentage of single mother incomes. Housing, childcare, and healthcare all make up for a large part of the single parent budget. 1 in 3 single mothers is spending half of her income on rent or housing. Childcare is also a great expense. In some states, single mothers spend half of their annual income on childcare. Close to 15% of single mothers do not have health insurance.

Demographics and statistics also show the high costs of parenting. For all parents, the cost of raising a child from birth through 18 is $233,610. This amounts to $13,000 per year. For single parents, living costs amount to a high percentage of income.

On average, single mothers spend 29% of the monthly budget on housing. For some parents, this can run as high as 50%. Other top costs include childcare/education (16%) and food (18%). However, some parents spend up to half of their yearly income on childcare. Transportation can make up to 15% of income.

President Obama

Is There Any Hope?


Despite the challenges faced by many single parents, there are many success stories. President Barack Obama, Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps, and NBA player Kevin Durant were all raised by single mothers.

The statistics and demographics show us that the number of single parent-led households is increasing. However, single mothers especially need access to affordable housing and childcare. Policies that encourage education for unmarried mothers are also key so they can move beyond the trap of low-wage jobs.


Beth Cone Kramer is the author of the upcoming book “Digital Dating Detox.”


Secure Single provides a forum for a diverse variety of perspectives, ideas, experiences, and resources and does not take official stances. All writers speak exclusively for themselves. Concurrently, any quotes, shares, reposts, interviews, etc. do not imply endorsement by Secure Single LLC or its curators. Now go live your best single life!
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Beth is a longtime divorcee and professional writer who has focused on helping women and men through the transition to embrace single life following divorce or loss of a partner.
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