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Interesting stats on single moms.
According to 2019 Census Bureau, out of about 22 children under the age 18 live with a single parent, and single mothers head more than 86% of those families. It is also important to note that as the birthrate in the United States has decreased over the last 30 years, single motherhood has increased 300%.
Single parenting would be difficult under even the most ideal of circumstances, but the harsh reality is that most single moms have more hurdles to clear than just the fact that they don’t have a partner with whom to share the responsibilities of raising children. The current pandemic has made life even more difficult. From the high costs of childcare and obtaining higher education to something as simple as putting food on the table – single moms have a lot of stress in their lives: mental, emotional, and physical.
There are more than 15 million single mothers in the United States parenting approximately 22 million youth under the age of 18. These women take on the task of providing for their families as primary caretaker, financial supporter, school tutor, medical nurse, chauffer, guidance counselor, housekeeper & cook, encourager & coach, accountant & mediator, as well as a variety of other roles and on most days – with little help.
To work or not to work?
That is usually not a question that single moms have the luxury of contemplating.
Employment is one of the most critical areas affecting single moms because it influences so many of the other issues with which they are faced.
As the sole providers for their households, employment is crucial for the single mom but also leads to a number of other complications and considerations, such as childcare.
Did you know that finances are the number one cause of stress in America?
Considering the fact that the majority of people are experiencing anxiety in regards to money, it is no wonder that income is a serious concern for the single mom.
In 2018 the median income for single moms was $45,128 versus the median $93,654 for married couples. Pair that with the fact that:
- Out of more than 10 million low-income working families with children, 39% were headed by single working mothers or about 4.1 million.
- 40% of single parents in the US are employed in low-wage jobs
- Only a third of single mothers receive any child support
- Poverty rate among single mother families is five times that of a married couple, which has major complications for the children involved. 59% of children on the SNAP program are living in homes led by single mothers.
Across all income levels, single mother led families are the most likely to lack sufficient health insurance.
Single moms are twice as likely as married mothers to have no health insurance, which leads to added stress for women who know that they are the only ones around to provide and care for their children.
Mental Health Needs
Over the last decades a great deal of changes have taken place in the family structure leading to an increase in single-parent families.
Studies demonstrate that almost 3 out of 10 children are being raised in single-parent households, while this number is expected to increase in the future. The aim of the present chapter is to discuss the risk of mental health difficulties in single parent families. It seems that the majority of single parent households is headed by single mothers who often face a number of difficulties and challenges in practicing their parenting role.
Single parents, especially single mothers seem to experience increased levels of stress, anxiety and depression, face more socioeconomic difficulties and lack of social support as compared to married couple families. Furthermore, the absence of an additional primary caregiver who could share the responsibilities of the household may lead to feelings of low self-esteem and isolation. Moreover, aggravating factors such as chronic health conditions of the child can make the single parent’s burden even harder to carry. In addition to the above, single parenting may be associated with several mental health difficulties for the children as well, such as anxiety, depression and externalizing disorders, whereas in some cases it can lead to school dropout and poor health. Taking into consideration the obstacles encountered by single parents in many aspects of their life as well as the continuously increasing numbers of single parenthood, it is considered necessary for mental health professionals to support them in their parenting role and enhance their mental health.