As elevations in the rates of divorce and nonmarital childbearing have altered the social landscape, the single-parent family is increasingly being blamed for germinating many of the nation's social issues, including delinquency, adolescent pregnancy, and welfare dependency. In 2000, 28% of all family households were single-parent families, and 84% of children living with a single parent resided with their mother (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 2000). Considering the implications for single parenting more broadly, it is estimated that 50% of children born in the 1980s and 1990s will reside in a one-parent situation during some period prior to reaching adulthood. These national demographics underscore the importance of understanding the effects of single-parent life on educational, social, and behavioral outcomes for children.

Characteristics of Single-Parent Families

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