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One-Third of U.S. Children Are Now Living With a Single Parent

New research finds the number of kids living with an unmarried parent has more than doubled in the last 50 years.


Nearly one out of every three kids in the United States lives with a single parent, according to Pew Research Center’s analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. In fact, the number of children living with an unmarried parent has more than doubled over the last 50 years, rising from 13 percent in 1968 to 32 percent in 2017. Conversely, the percentage of kids in two-parent households has fallen from 85 percent in 1968 to 65 percent in 2017.

The data also found that of children living with only one parent, far more are likely to be with their mother than their father. Only four percent of kids in single-parent households are living with their dad, while 21 percent are with mom. The numbers also break down by race. Only 13 percent of Asian children in the U.S. are living with an unmarried parent, compared to more than half of black children.

The shift in more children living with a single parent is not entirely surprising. Divorce rates have been rising for the last 50 years, while marriage rates continue to decrease. Not only that, but people have become more comfortable raising children outside of marriage.