Single-Parent Statistics

Here are some statistics gathered from various sources. Statistics are hard numbers that can be interpreted various ways. This list is provided to indicate the need for ministry to this particular group of people. It is not meant to disparage any particular group of people. Our goal is that you will use these numbers to bring the problem to light so that the church can build an effective ministry. Keep in mind that there are successful single parents, custodial and non-custodial, and they usually become successful when they have the love and support of a local church.

Single Parent Households

  • In 1998, 26% of all families with children were headed by single parents.
    Press Release cb98-228.html, U.S.Census Bureau,, April 29, 1999.

  • In 1998, an estimated 42% of all custodial parents had never married, 38% had divorced, only 5% were widowed, and about 15% were separated.
    “Census Bureau Facts for Features,” U.S. Census Bureau,, April 29, 1999.

Single Mother Households

  • In 1998, 7.7 million (78%) of single mothers maintained their own household. Most of these mothers (69%) had no other adult in the home to help them out.
    Press Release cb00-ff.06, U.S. Census Bureau,, May 3, 2000.

Single Father Households

  • In 1998, 85% of custodial single fathers maintained their own household. Over half (55%) of these fathers had at least one other adult in their home to help them out.
    Press Release cb99-03, U.S. Census Bureau,, June 6, 2000.

  • Of single fathers raising their own children in 1998, 11% cared for 3 or more children.
    “Two Parent Versus Single Father Families,” U.S. Census Bureau Public Information Office, June 6, 2000.

Single Grandparent Households

  • In 1997, 340,000 grandmothers were raising their grandchildren without a grandfather or the children’s parents present.
    Press Release cb00-ff.03, U.S. Census Bureau,, February 23, 2000.


  • In 1998, the median income for single mother households was $18,000; for single father households the income was $30,000. (The median income for married couple families with children was $57,000.) Note: this does not include non-custodial single parents or those that are not householders.
    “Historical Income Tables- Families,” Bureau of the Census,, Last revised October 4, 1999.

Child Support

  • One third of custodial mothers and one third of custodial fathers do not have a child support order because they did not pursue child support or they could not locate the absent parent.
    Current Population Reports, U.S. Census Bureau,, (P23-189), June 2000.

  • In 1996, eight million (58%) of all custodial parents had child support awards—61% for mothers and 40% for fathers.
    Current Population Reports, U.S. Census Bureau,, March 2000.


  • By May 1999, between 61% and 87% of adults leaving public assistance had gotten jobs. Most still earn below the poverty level and are often without benefits. Between 19% and 30% of those who leave welfare find it necessary to return to the rolls.
    “Most Find Jobs After Leaving Welfare,” by Judith Havemann, Washington Post, May 27.


  • Only 11% of the adult population are currently divorced. Of all adults, 25% have experienced at least one divorce. Christians divorce at a higher rate (27%) than non-Christians (24%).
    “Christians Are Most Likely to Experience Divorce Than Are Non-Christians,” The Barna Research Group, Ltd., December 21, 1999.

Unwed Pregnancy

  • In 1999, 41% of all first births were born to premarital parents. Of females ages 15 to 29, 53% of first children were conceived out of wedlock.
    Press Release (cb99-213), U.S. Census Bureau’s Public Information Office, December 20, 1999.

Fatherless Children

  • An estimated 25 million (40%) of children are growing up without fathers in the home.
    “American Agenda,” World news Tonight with Peter Jennings, December 13, 1994.

  • About 13 million (50%) of children without fathers in the home have never even been in their father’s home.
    “American Agenda,” World news Tonight with Peter Jennings, December 13, 1994.

Associated Risks

  • Boys living in a fatherless home are two to three times more likely to be involved in crime, drop out of school, and get divorced. Girls living in a fatherless home are two to three times more likely to become prenant teenagers and have their marriages end in divorce.
    “Heading Toward a Fatherless Society,” by Barry Kliff, MSNBC News,, March 31, 1999.

Church Involvement

  • Only 5% of single parent family population attend church regularly.
    The Hidden Mission Field, by Theresa McKenna, Winepress Publishing, 1999

Taken from Crown Financial Ministries by Larry Burket

Unknown Author

The purpose of Assemblies of God Single Adult Ministries is to help districts, churches, pastors and leaders build spiritually-strong single and single-again adults of all ages.

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