Single Mother Statistics

About 4 out 10 children were born to unwed mothers. Nearly two-thirds were born to mothers under the age of 30. Today 1 in 5 children under the age of 18 — a total of about 15.7 million — are being raised without a father.

According to U.S. Census Bureau, out of about 10 million single parent families with children under the age of 18, almost 80 percent were headed by single mothers. A third lived in poverty.

Single mothers earn income that place them well below married mothers in the income ladder. The gap between the two groups is significantly large.

The median income for families led by a single mother in 2021 was about $51,168, well below the $106,921 median for married couples.

The official poverty rate for single-mother families in 2021 was 31.3%, nearly five times more than the rate (5.4%) for married-couple families. 7

Families headed by women of color fared even worse. More than one in three (37.4%) of Black female-headed families lived in poverty, Hispanic (35.9%), White (25.0%), and Asian (19.7%).

Single mothers often spend over half of their income on housing expenses and a third on child care, leaving them with less money for educational expenses.