Single Parenthood and Poverty

Granted, now, we the Church should never have anything to say about this, but….

The poverty data released this week from the U.S. Census offers another stark reminder of the economic toll of single parenthood.

Even before the Great Recession began, poverty rates for single moms and dads were much higher than for married families. The economic weakness of the past few years has only made things worse for parents raising kids on their own.

Nearly 41 percent of single-mother families with children under 18 were living below the poverty line in 2010, according to the Census data.

Single fathers with kids under 18 also were struggling, with about 24 percent of those families living below the poverty line.

By comparison, just around 9 percent of married couples with kids under 18 fell below the poverty line last year.

Life Inc. – Good Graph Friday: The high cost of single parenthood.

We could quote stats about single parents and the ways which churches have traditionally treated them, and the historical response, but… my question is, what can/should we do?

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Joel L. Watts
Joel L. Watts holds a Masters of Arts from United Theological Seminary with a focus in literary and rhetorical criticism of the New Testament. He is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of the Free State, analyzing Paul’s model of atonement in Galatians. He is the author of Mimetic Criticism of the Gospel of Mark: Introduction and Commentary (Wipf and Stock, 2013), a co-editor and contributor to From Fear to Faith: Stories of Hitting Spiritual Walls (Energion, 2013), and Praying in God's Theater, Meditations on the Book of Revelation (Wipf and Stock, 2014).

One thought on “Single Parenthood and Poverty

  1. As a single parent for many years, I can personally attest to how financially difficult it is, particularly with a deadbeat spouse. I lived in a small, two bedroom apartment, drove an ancient car with windows that didn’t always roll up, and often did without so my kids wouldn’t.

    The biggest expense, by far, was childcare. For two kids, full-time ran me about $800/month during school and then about $1200/month in the summer. It ate up about 30-50% of my take home pay. Add to that my income was ‘too high’ to effectively take advantage of the child care tax credit, and being a single parent is a financial nightmare.

    When you’re the only one, time and money for extra school, extra work, extra anything is almost impossible to come by.

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