Being a single parent is hard. Without another adult in the family, responsibilities for caregiving, earning and household management fall on a single set of shoulders. There are more than 377,000 families with children in Ohio that are classified as “female householder, no husband present,” the Census Bureau’s designation for a single mother (or grandmother or foster mother) household. Nearly 127,000 families with children are “male household, no wife present.” All told, close to 950,000 children in Ohio live in single-parent or single-grandparent families, accounting for nearly 2 out of every 5 children.
About two-thirds of all children who live below poverty in Ohio live in single mother (or grandmother) households
In our newly-released Status of Women fact sheets, we noted that female-headed households with children are more than twice as likely to live in poverty. But looking at the data from the perspective of the children, we see even greater disparities. About two-thirds of all children who live below poverty in Ohio live in single mother (or grandmother) households. Ohio children in female-headed households with no husband present are more than 5 times as likely to be poor as children in married-couple households. They’re also more than twice as likely to be poor than their counterparts in male-headed households with no wife present.
Close to 950,000 children in Ohio live in single-parent or single-grandparent families, accounting for nearly 2 out of every 5 children
The well-documented gender wage gap is almost certainly a contributing factor. In fact, the median income for single-mother families in Ohio is an abysmal $24,968. For single-father families it’s $41,090, and the median married-couple family with children earns $95,134 per year.Ohio’s single-mom households are more likely to live in poverty than households with single dads, what does this mean for #Ohio's kids? Learn more here Click To Tweet
Managing child care and work is a delicate balancing act, which is tough even for two-parent families, but much more difficult when there is no one to split the responsibilities. And too many employees have no paid time off, so if their child is ill or school is closed and they need to stay home, they have to forego wages for the day, which brings down their annual earnings. Single parents face these pressures, regardless of gender. So what could account for the disparity between male and female headed households with children?
Ohio children in female-headed households with no husband present are more than 5 times as likely to be poor as children in married-couple households
An even deeper dive into census data reveals another possible answer. It turns out that 42.7 percent of Ohio children live in families where the householder is their father (or grandfather) that also includes an “unmarried partner of the householder.” This means that there is another adult in the household, who can presumably share the load of caring for the children. More importantly for poverty statistics, they can bring in additional income. Only 18 percent of children live in female-headed households under these circumstances. Many more single mothers than single fathers are going it alone.