Do the Children of Unmarried Working Mothers Have to Struggle Harder for Success?
Tuesday, July 17, 2012
Being part of a single-mother household can be challenging for the children as well as the parent, particularly if the mother has little education and limited income.
Today, more than 40% of all children born in the United States are born outside of marriage. Thirty years ago, the percentage was only 17%.
The vast majority of children who live with a single parent live in households run by women with no college education. And while these households used to be concentrated among minorities, motherhood outside marriage is growing fastest among the white middle class who have some or no higher education.
Due to their limited education, these homes are increasingly struggling to make a good living and are contributing to the growing income inequality.
Although there are many high-profile examples of people raised by single mothers achieving success (such as presidents Bill Clinton and Barack Obama), life for children in these homes is by no means easy. Their mothers have less time to be with them because they work, and the mothers often do not have the funds to enroll their children in extracurricular activities. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, almost two-thirds of working mothers with college degrees receive paid maternity leave; for those without a high school degree, the number is less than one-fifth.
These children are more prone to endure poverty, become difficult students in school, get pregnant as teenagers and drop out of school, according to several research studies.
-Noel Brinkerhoff, David Wallechinsky
To Learn More:
Two Classes, Divided by ‘I Do’ (by Jason DeParle, New York Times)
What Happens When You Can't Afford Your Children? (by Naomi Cahn and June Carbon, AlterNet)
Hundreds of Millions of Dollars Later, Program to Relieve Poverty by Promoting Marriage Didn’t Work (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
Almost 4 of 10 Births in U.S. are to Unmarried Mothers (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)
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