Single parents more likely to be below poverty line, according to Census

The scary economics of single parenthood. Via U.S. Census

The U.S. Census released poverty data this week that illustrates how hard it is to be a single parent, economically.

Poverty rates for single parents were considerably higher than they were for married families even before the recession began, but now it’s become more pronounced. The economic downturn of the past few years has worsened a bad economic situation for moms and dads raising kids on their own.

Of the single-mother families with children under 18, nearly 41% were living below the poverty line in 2010, according to the Census data. The data showed that single fathers with kids under 18 were doing a little better, but still about 24% were living below the poverty line. Married couples with kids under 18, on the other hand, had just around 9 percent fall below the poverty line last year.

The Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund was the first group to point out the discrepancy. The group, which is “dedicated to advancing the rights of all women and girls,” also called attention to the fact that there has been a gender gap in the poverty rate since such measures began to be recorded.

Interestingly, poverty rates for single parent families in Western European nations like Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway were much lower, according to the group. This is probably because they used data from the mid-2000s, before the recession. Germany and Canada were similar to the United States in their relatively high poverty rates among children of single mother, according to the group.