Did you know that according to a study by the U.S. Census Bureau released in November, 2009, there are approximately 13.7 million single parents in the United States? Those parents are responsible for raising 21.8 million children (approximately 26% of children under 21 in the U.S.). Given that this report was released over 3 years ago, I can only imagine that the numbers have gone up.
Of those 13.7 million single parents, I am one of them. Sometimes, I feel like this is all too much. I largely attribute this feeling to the fact that I actually DON’T see my son every day – that’s where MY troubles come from. But then I think: How difficult must it be for those parents that handle their children every day all day all by themselves? And there must be plenty of single parents that have an unsupportive ex-partner and they really are all on their own.
The pressure to make ends meet for a single parent is immense. Of course, most of them have to work full time in order to survive. 79.5% of single mothers and 90% of single fathers are employed full or part time. While at work, there is no one else to take care of the children, so being a single parent can be really expensive, especially when you have small children that require full time daycare. It is no wonder, that single parents are hard pressed for money and often loose the social status they had in their former relationships. Just look at the numbers:
- 27% of custodial single mothers and their children live in poverty
- 12.9% of custodial single fathers and their children live in poverty
- 22% receive Medicaid
- 23.5% receive food stamps
- 12% receive some form of public housing or rent subsidy
Being a single parent is the toughest job anyone can have. If you know someone who is a single parent, show them some appreciation this Thursday. Show them they are even more appreciated for their extraordinary strength and dedication to raising their children and keeping their lives together. If you know a troubled single parent, maybe take them out to dinner.
This would be a great day for this Random Acts of Kindness idea!