What can we learn from statistics of unmarried parents?

Changing societal norms are often a positive thing. As men and women's roles in the family continue to equalize, experts are seeing great benefits to children and both spouses. However, some statistics are making experts take note.

Recent findings from the Pew Research Center show that the number of children in the US who live with an unmarried parent has gone up over the past few decades. In 1968, only 13% of children lived with an unmarried parent. Contrast that with 2017, where 32% of children now fall into that category. For the time being, experts are not making sweeping judgments of how this may affect a child's upbringing, but if you're a concerned Arizona parent, other related statistics may give you a more complete picture.

Are children living with mom or dad?

Approximately 24 million kids under the age of 18 in the US live with one unmarried parent. Well over half of them live with their mother. Although the number of cohabitating parents has risen in recent years, that group still only accounts for 7%. When you include cohabitating parents in the mix, a fifth of children who live with an unmarried parent are living with their mom, making that the most prevalent category.

However, the number of kids who live with just their father has gone up as well, to 4% in 2017, where it used to be only 1% in 1968. It is important to note that these statistics categorize children by which parent they live with more often.

How does socioeconomic status factor?

African American children who live with one parent predominantly live with their mother, at a rate of 47%. Thirteen percent of white children live with only their mother, as are 23% of Hispanic kids.

When looking at household income, 30% of single moms live in poverty. The same cannot be said for single dads, with only 17% of them living in poverty. Cohabitating couples in poverty account for 16%.

What could be causing these numbers?

Experts say that the rise in these numbers could come from lowered rates of marriage as well as a rise in the number of kids being born to unmarried parents. Though divorce rates have been on the decline recently, over the long term, the rate has gone up, and now a fifth of all children will experience the divorce of their parents by the time they turn nine years old. More than half of kids of with cohabitating parents will see them break up.

Though it may seem as though certain judgments can be made from these statistics, it is unhelpful. However, if you're a parent who is considering getting a divorce, these numbers show that you are far from being alone. The most important thing is that children feel loved and cared for, no matter what kind of household they grow up in.

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