Almost half of children with single parents living in relative poverty July 2022


Some 49% of children in single-parent families were in relative poverty at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, analysis suggests.  This equates to 1.5 million children in 2019-20, up from 40% in 2013-14, Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS). The number is almost double the rate for children living in two-parent families (25%). 



SPIN member statistics - Single parents are money, time and energy poor

  • 79% of our members do not receive any maintenance monies from their ex-partner.
  • 92% of our members identify as women.  Women traditionally work in lower income jobs and work more part-time jobs. The pandemic has greatly impacted on female-dominated industries and single parents have faced even more problems. Single motherhood has been found to have a detrimental impact on children's attainment due to reduced economic circumstances.
  • Single parents live in more rented accommodation and social housing due to this lack of income and are the main group that need emergency housing when they become homeless.
  • 61% of our members said that they shared care (often instead of money) but this can be erratic and unreliable making working outside the home problematic.   This controlling arrangement without regular respite adversely affects the mental and physical health of the main parent.  The parents remain in an unsatisfactory relationship despite separating, causing conflict and stress impacting on the whole family.

Brighton & Hove children of single parent families (2011 census)

  • 3/4 of children living in poverty in Brighton & Hove live in single parent families. 88% of these single parents are women.
  • In England the average number of children in relative low income single parent families is 40.8% and in Brighton & Hove 44.7%.

GINGERBREAD (National single parent organisation) 

Single parents in the UK today

(Statistics last updated September 2019)

  • There are around 1.8 million single parents – they make up nearly a quarter of families with dependent children (i) 
  • More than a third of all children living in poverty are in single parent households
  • Around 90% of single parents are women (iii)
  • The proportion of single parents who are men has been around 10% for over ten years (vi)
  • Single fathers are more than three times as likely to be widowed than single mothers (7% compared with 2%) (v)
  • The average age of a single parent is around 39 years (iv); single mothers tend to be younger than single fathers on average (38 years compared with 45 years old, respectively) (iii)
  • Less than 1% of single parents are teenagers (ii)
  • 21% of single parents are from a Black or minority ethnic background (including those of other White origin, apart from White British), compared with 16% nationally (vi)
  • 28% of single parents have a disability, compared with 14% of couple parents (vii)
  • Slightly less than half – 44% – of single parents had their children within marriage; that is, they are married/in a civil partnership, separated, divorced or a surviving partner (iv)
  • 55% of single parent families have one child; 32.1% have two children and 13% have three or more children (i)
  • On average, children who experience single parenthood during their childhood have poorer cognitive outcomes than those that grow up in families that remain “intact”.  Crawford, C. et al (2013) Cohabitaton, marriage, relationship stability and child outcomes

Joining Gingerbread means you’re part of a community of single parent families from all across the country. You can make new friends, share experiences, get the latest advice and campaign news and have your say on the issues affecting your family.  An organisation that speaks up for single parents.  Make your voice heard and help Gingerbread show the government and media what life as a single parent in the UK is really like. Members can get involved with our campaigns, take part in surveys, share stories or become media volunteers.

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