Change Indicator

Children in single-parent families, 2008-2012 and 2016-2020 in United States

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Why This Indicator Matters

Children growing up in single-parent families typically do not have the same economic or human resources available as those growing up in two-parent families. Compared with children in married-couple families, children raised in single-parent households are more likely to drop out of school, to have or cause a teen pregnancy and to experience a divorce in adulthood.

This indicator is included in the KIDS COUNT Child Well-Being Index. Read the KIDS COUNT Data Book to learn more:
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Definition and Source



Children under age 18 who live with their own single parent either in a family or subfamily.

In this definition, single-parent families may include cohabiting couples and do not include children living with married stepparents. Children who live in group quarters (for example, institutions, dormitories, or group homes) are not included in this calculation.

Data Source

Population Reference Bureau, analysis of data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 5-year American Community Survey, 2008-2012 and 2016-2020
These data were derived from ACS table C23008.


Updated July 2022.
S - Estimates suppressed when the confidence interval around the percentage is greater than or equal to 10 percentage points.
N.A. – Data not available.
A 90 percent confidence interval for each estimate can be found at Children in single-parent families, 2008-2012 and 2016-2020.

Last Updated

July 2022