Number of U.S. children living in a single parent family 1970-2018

Number of children living with a single mother or a single father in the U.S. from 1970 to 2018 (in 1,000s)

by Erin Duffin, last edited Aug 9, 2019
Number of U.S. children living in a single parent family 1970-2018 In 2018, there were about 16.4 million children living with a single mother in the United States, and about 3.25 million children living with a single father. The number of children living with a single mother is down from its peak in 2012, and the number of children living with a single father is down from its peak in 2005.
Marriage and divorce in the United States

Despite popular opinion in the United States that “half of all marriages end in divorce,” the divorce rate in the U.S. has fallen significantly since 1992. The marriage rate, which has also been decreasing since the 1990s, was still higher than the divorce rate in 2017. Half of all marriages may not end in divorce, but it does seem that fewer people are choosing to get married in the first place.

New family structures

In addition to a falling marriage rate, fewer people in 2018 have children under the age of 18 living in the house than there were in 1970. Over the past decade, the share of families with children under 18, whether that be married couples or single parents, has stayed mostly steady, although the number of births in the U.S. has also fallen.
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Number of children living with a single mother or a single father in the U.S. from 1970 to 2018 (in 1,000s)

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Statistics on "Mothers in the U.S."
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