States with the most single-parent households

Written by:
January 7, 2021
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States with the most single-parent households

The U.S. has the highest percentage of single-parent households in the world, with millions of solo guardians struggling to make ends meet on one income, while performing all the labor of parenting day in and day out. The coronavirus hit some households much harder than others, specifically single-parent residences run by women. Choosing between paying bills or rent, facing eviction and food insecurity, and deciding between making money and taking care of a child is the harsh reality of the history-making pandemic and lack of government support for struggling families.  

To determine the states with the most single-parent households, Stacker used data from the U.S. Census American Community Survey 2018 five-year estimates. All 50 states and Washington D.C. are ranked here according to the share of households that have single parents, classified as either “Male householder, no wife present, children of the householder under 18 years” or “Female householder, no husband present, children of the householder under 18 years.” Census categories currently fail to capture the full scope of potential LGBTQ+ family relationships. Along with each state’s slide, information about the breakdown of single parents, as well as the total number of married couples with kids, is provided.

Single parents perform an extraordinary amount of labor in normal times, but during the COVID-19 pandemic find themselves juggling a seemingly unmanageable situation. Balancing childcare and schooling with work has become impossible for some, and with no paid leave laws to begin with and little aid from the federal government, both parents and children are struggling.

Continue reading to find out more about the states with the most single-parent households.

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#51. Hawaii

- Single-parent households: 30,418 (6.7% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 21,225 (4.6% of all households, #50 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 9,193 (2.0% of all households, #43 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 89,033 (19.5% of all households, #16 highest)

A direct hardship relief bill is a temporary haven for Hawaiian residents who live in Oahu, an island struggling in the midst of the COVID-19 financial crisis. Cash cards for $500 offer interim funds for local families' basic food and necessities and a large part of the homeless population. Officials encourage residents to hold on to the cards regardless of the Dec. 27, 2020 expiration date, reporting the need for it in the future.

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#50. Montana

- Single-parent households: 29,272 (6.9% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 18,974 (4.5% of all households, #51 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 10,298 (2.4% of all households, #14 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 73,723 (17.4% of all households, #35 highest)

Along with the elderly and disabled, single-parent households see hard times in southern Montana, where a Bozeman shelter reports society’s most vulnerable are in dire need of shelter and food, according to Montana Public Radio. The news source further reports single-mother job loss hit childcare facilities, which have only stayed open due to state grant funding.

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#49. Utah

- Single-parent households: 69,748 (7.3% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 49,279 (5.1% of all households, #46 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 20,469 (2.1% of all households, #38 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 291,774 (30.5% of all households, #1 highest)

Even before COVID-19 swept the country, a statewide Utah program addressed the working poor, calling it the Single Parent Project. Nearly 20% of Utah’s children get brought up in the 7.3% single-parent household population, which reportedly makes too much income for state aid, but not enough money for food and shelter. A reported 30 to 60 cents over the required income bracket has left some single parents in immediate financial need.

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#48. New Hampshire

- Single-parent households: 38,506 (7.3% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 26,433 (5.0% of all households, #49 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 12,073 (2.3% of all households, #30 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 95,819 (18.1% of all households, #26 highest)

Nearly a decade ago, New Hampshire reported that one-third of homes were single-parent households, which is why statewide assistance includes free school breakfast and lunch and the Special Milk Program. The story of a college student from New Hampshire raised in single-parent household made headlines when she headed off to Oxford, England, as a Rhodes Scholar in 2020.

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#47. North Dakota

- Single-parent households: 23,366 (7.4% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 15,819 (5.0% of all households, #48 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 7,547 (2.4% of all households, #17 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 58,547 (18.6% of all households, #23 highest)

Of the Flickertail State 53 counties, Rolette, Sioux, and Benson, show the highest single-parent households population. The high percentage of single-mom households in North Dakota is serviced by various benefits programs, including government grants, loans, housing aid, and the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF). NDkids.org is another resource for one-parent residences with tips and resources for family types, parenting challenges, special needs, and self-care.

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#46. Vermont

- Single-parent households: 19,478 (7.5% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 13,538 (5.2% of all households, #44 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 5,940 (2.3% of all households, #29 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 41,754 (16.1% of all households, #46 highest)

Vermont rates 23% out of all U.S. states for solo-parent residences, according to a 2018 child well-being survey that ranked the Green Mountain State 8th overall for excellent adolescent welfare. Vermont’s higher education system serves solo-guardian students at Champlain College, one of 11 colleges in the country that supports the Single Parents Program.

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#45. Colorado

- Single-parent households: 163,338 (7.7% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 113,586 (5.4% of all households, #43 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 49,752 (2.4% of all households, #22 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 437,380 (20.7% of all households, #8 highest)

In 2018, the Colorado Independent reported that 62% of single mothers in Colorado don't have enough income for basic needs, and that number goes up to 74% of single Black single mothers, compared to 53% of white single mothers. While “single dads, who account for just 3% of households in Colorado, have an inadequate income 43% of the time,” earning deficiency is higher for single moms than dads. Often single mothers must choose between buying food or paying rent, or delaying medical care to pay for childcare.

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#44. Maine

- Single-parent households: 43,108 (7.7% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 28,933 (5.2% of all households, #45 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 14,175 (2.5% of all households, #11 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 85,621 (15.4% of all households, #49 highest)

The Maine Center for Public Interest reported in 2016 that nearly half of all births are to unwed mothers, which was a 500% increase from 43 years earlier, with percentages rising from 7.1% in 1970 to 41% by 2013. Maine Children’s Alliance Executive Director Claire Berkowitz notes that children from single-parent, low-income households are cognitively less developed than children from “well-resourced” homes.

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#43. Washington

- Single-parent households: 217,955 (7.8% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 152,176 (5.4% of all households, #41 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 65,779 (2.3% of all households, #24 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 563,726 (20.1% of all households, #12 highest)

In June of 2020, the Washington State Office of Financial Management reported the highest single-parent families are in Okanogan County at 43.1%, and the lowest are in Wahkiakum County, at 17.1%. The state department notes that in the 58 years between 1960 and 2018, Washington State solo-parent residences rose from 8.2% to 30.1%, and two-parent families decreased by 2.7% between 2000 and 2017.

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#42. Idaho

- Single-parent households: 48,256 (7.8% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 33,460 (5.4% of all households, #42 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 14,796 (2.4% of all households, #18 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 135,782 (22.0% of all households, #3 highest)

The Federal Reserve Bank of Idaho’s Economic Data reports Gem County, which has a 12.7% poverty rate, has the highest percentage of single-parent households in Idaho, with a per capita income of $22,661 between 2015–2019.  

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#41. Wyoming

- Single-parent households: 18,064 (7.8% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 11,781 (5.1% of all households, #47 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 6,283 (2.7% of all households, #4 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 45,393 (19.7% of all households, #13 highest)

A statewide report, “Overlooked and Undercounted,” states that single moms run 21% of households with children in Wyoming, and 4% are run by solo dads. Single African American mothers in the Cowboy State show the highest income inadequacy rates, with up to 76% unable to meet daily household needs.

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#40. West Virginia

- Single-parent households: 57,614 (7.8% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 40,597 (5.5% of all households, #40 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 17,017 (2.3% of all households, #27 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 114,834 (15.6% of all households, #48 highest)

At 37%, the number of children living in single-parent homes is nearly half of those in two-parent households based on a report from Spotlight on Poverty and Opportunity, a non-partisan organization focusing on low-income American families. With up to 26.8% of parental jobs at low-wage income, 14.8% food insecurity, and a 19.1% poverty rate, single parents in West Virginia struggle to survive.

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#39. Oregon

- Single-parent households: 125,899 (7.9% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 89,754 (5.6% of all households, #39 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 36,145 (2.3% of all households, #31 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 286,361 (18.0% of all households, #29 highest)

The racial and ethnic disparity among single-parent households in Multnomah County is blatant, with 71.2% of Black kids raised by solo guardians while 27.3% of white children are reared by only a mother or father. Director of the Multnomah’s Maternal Child Family Health programs, LaRisha Baker notes, "It's not Black people as a community, it's due to government policies that have hurt families and their ability to stay together, including racial discriminatory incarceration, mandatory minimum sentencing laws, and family separation due to slavery," Baker says. "That still impacts us today." COVID-19 has exacerbated the single-parent crisis, leaving mothers who work full-time in the day without childcare for students who now study from home. Even parents who share custody of children find it hard to work and manage children during the pandemic.

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#38. Massachusetts

- Single-parent households: 208,383 (8.0% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 164,735 (6.3% of all households, #28 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 43,648 (1.7% of all households, #50 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 487,856 (18.7% of all households, #22 highest)

The Bay State reports an increase in single-parent families due to fewer marriages, more births out of wedlock, and a high divorce rate. Since 1980 the number of children raised in solo-guardian homes rose from one in five to one in three; however, a financial survey ranks Springfield, Massachusetts as the best place to live as a single parent based on income, affordability, time, and workplace protection scores.

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#37. Minnesota

- Single-parent households: 174,910 (8.1% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 122,933 (5.7% of all households, #38 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 51,977 (2.4% of all households, #16 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 444,550 (20.5% of all households, #10 highest)

In central Minnesota, 76% of children are raised by married couples, while 24% of kids in the North Star State are reared by one parent. Male and female single parents make far less than married Minnesota couples, who collectively average $102,021 annually. While single mothers average $37,890 a year, single fathers earn $57,290 annually, a display of the income wage gap by gender.

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#36. Virginia

- Single-parent households: 256,749 (8.2% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 194,376 (6.2% of all households, #31 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 62,373 (2.0% of all households, #45 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 638,190 (20.4% of all households, #11 highest)

Virginia students raised by a single parent have access to college funds and scholarships, along with students who come from low-to-moderate income families or are part of an underrepresented minority group. Additionally, Healthy Families Virginia assists 8.2% of solo mom or dad households with multiple stressors, including mental health and domestic violence issues or past abuse or adverse childhood backgrounds.

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#35. New Jersey

- Single-parent households: 265,858 (8.3% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 203,209 (6.3% of all households, #29 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 62,649 (1.9% of all households, #48 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 698,130 (21.7% of all households, #5 highest)

One of the Garden State’s significant media sources cites the annual Kids Count report, noting rising numbers of New Jersey single parents. Advocates of Children in New Jersey Executive Director Cecilia Zalkind said the single-parent households statewide see fewer resources available to two-guardian homes. Another Jersey Shore report calls the “typical” American clan in New Jersey a fantasy, showing that along with single mom and dad households, non-familial homes are as equal as married with and without children family groups.

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#34. Pennsylvania

- Single-parent households: 415,863 (8.3% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 307,703 (6.1% of all households, #32 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 108,160 (2.2% of all households, #37 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 863,263 (17.2% of all households, #38 highest)

Single-parent households in Pennsylvania have steadily risen since 1950, with up to 33.1% of families now led by solo parents. A 2020 report shows 415,373 total single-parent households in the Keystone State, with more single moms at 24% than single dads at 9.1%. Pennsylvania’s percentage of families with a single parent and households led by a solo mom are both higher than the U.S. averages.

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#33. Washington D.C.

- Single-parent households: 23,501 (8.4% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 19,566 (7.0% of all households, #14 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 3,935 (1.4% of all households, #51 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 27,368 (9.7% of all households, #51 highest)

D.C. Health Matters reports up to 52.1% of single-parent households, noting both adults and adolescents in the group have a higher chance of emotional and behavioral issues. The collaboration of hospitals and community health centers in D.C. report 9.9% of families with children fall below the poverty level, and solo guardians have “lowered perceived health and a higher risk of mortality.”

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#32. Iowa

- Single-parent households: 105,146 (8.4% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 72,384 (5.8% of all households, #37 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 32,762 (2.6% of all households, #8 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 244,488 (19.5% of all households, #17 highest)

A collaborative Iowa state agency reports up to 23.3% of Hawkeye State kids are raised by solo moms and 9.7% by single dads. Furthermore, the report breaks down the Iowa population by sex and age as far back as 1970. Half a century ago, 52,025 female family householders led the home, and by 2018 there were 121,044 single mothers, a 132.7% rise.

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#31. Nebraska

- Single-parent households: 63,395 (8.4% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 46,098 (6.1% of all households, #33 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 17,297 (2.3% of all households, #28 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 157,420 (20.9% of all households, #7 highest)

The Omaha Social Project, led by Dr. Crystal Edwards and student researchers, purports to advance the single-parenthood community by educational research. Based on Omaha World-Herald reports between 1984 and 2015, the data revealed single parenting trends and issues, including how animals ease vulnerable family groups.

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#30. Kansas

- Single-parent households: 95,570 (8.5% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 67,863 (6.0% of all households, #35 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 27,707 (2.5% of all households, #13 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 232,274 (20.7% of all households, #9 highest)

Lower than the U.S. national average of 32.1%, the reported 28.3% makes the Sunflower State the eighth-lowest percentage in the country. While Cleveland has the highest solo-parent populace at 73.3%, Overland Park has a 20.4% group of single moms and dads running the domicile alone. Other major Nebraska counties have high rates of one-parent households including Kansas City at 36.6%, Wichita at 38.7%, and Topeka at 40.7%.

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#29. Connecticut

- Single-parent households: 116,440 (8.5% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 89,534 (6.5% of all households, #22 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 26,906 (2.0% of all households, #46 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 256,597 (18.8% of all households, #21 highest)

Two of the Connecticut's largest metropolises have more than 50% single-parent families. Like many other U.S. regions, COVID-19 causes particular strain for Connecticut's single parents, who struggle to keep steady employment without childcare for younger children who study from home on separate schedules. The vulnerable workforce has put a specific strain on urban regions where many of the 76% of solo guardians work.

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#28. South Dakota

- Single-parent households: 29,112 (8.5% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 20,668 (6.1% of all households, #34 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 8,444 (2.5% of all households, #12 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 65,241 (19.1% of all households, #19 highest)

Single parents are more likely to raise South Dakota children in poverty, according to a 2013 report. Poverty comes from a variety of factors, according to the report, including low wages, few assets, poor early literacy, and lack of safe housing. The National Center for Children in Poverty reports 46,229 children to reside in low-income, single-parent households. When it comes to COVID-19, the Mount Rushmore State has fewer stay-at-home parents in the pandemic than other U.S. regions.

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#27. Florida

- Single-parent households: 653,221 (8.6% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 491,135 (6.4% of all households, #26 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 162,086 (2.1% of all households, #39 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 1.2 million (15.3% of all households, #50 highest)

There are more than three times as many single-mom households than single-dad households in Florida, which offers a number of benefits for single parents, including mortgage and food assistance. Some businesses involved with the SOS Children’s Villages have gone above and beyond, with one gifting a single mother of three a new car to kick off the new year. The Sunshine State ranks last among states for married couples with kids, at just over 15%.

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#26. Wisconsin

- Single-parent households: 200,863 (8.6% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 139,736 (6.0% of all households, #36 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 61,127 (2.6% of all households, #7 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 424,496 (18.1% of all households, #27 highest)

Wisconsin ranks seventh in percentage of single-dad households, a trend that began in 2000, with some counties seeing as much as a 75% spike. University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Odyssey Project offers assistance to single parents by offering two-semester programs, as well as partnering with groups like the Empty Stocking Club, which provided Christmas gifts to needy families in 2020.

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#25. Illinois

- Single-parent households: 416,572 (8.6% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 315,605 (6.5% of all households, #24 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 100,967 (2.1% of all households, #41 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 932,771 (19.3% of all households, #18 highest)

Chicago-area single parents have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, with an estimated 30% of single moms living below the poverty level. More than two-thirds of families in Alexander County, along the Mississippi River, were supported by a single parent in 2018, down 6% from the previous year.

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#24. New York

- Single-parent households: 636,295 (8.7% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 492,400 (6.7% of all households, #18 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 143,895 (2.0% of all households, #47 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 1.3 million (17.6% of all households, #34 highest)

The COVID-19 pandemic put extra strain on single-parent households in New York City, forcing many to stay home with their kids, since only 1% can afford childcare in the city. One single Brooklyn mom has taken the pandemic as an opportunity to feed her community, starting an organization for single moms in 2018 called Pink Lily. Single-parent families in New York City fell by 10% from 2017–2018.

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#23. Delaware

- Single-parent households: 31,471 (8.8% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 24,004 (6.7% of all households, #19 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 7,467 (2.1% of all households, #42 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 58,674 (16.4% of all households, #42 highest)

Delaware offers a wide array of resources for single parents, including SNAP and TANF benefits, as well as rental and mortgage assistance. Mom’s House in the state’s largest city, Wilmington, lends education assistance to single parents. A product of a single-family home himself, LaDaye Johnson, has formed a nonprofit to assist struggling families around the city.

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#22. Missouri

- Single-parent households: 212,328 (8.9% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 155,868 (6.5% of all households, #25 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 56,460 (2.4% of all households, #21 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 429,784 (17.9% of all households, #30 highest)

The University of Missouri Center for Family Policy and Research reported in 2017 up to 118,373 children aged 6 had single parents who worked in the labor force. While there are more households without children under the age of 18 in the metropolis of St. Louis, the city has more single moms running the home than married couples with children.

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#21. Michigan

- Single-parent households: 346,804 (8.9% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 255,964 (6.5% of all households, #23 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 90,840 (2.3% of all households, #26 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 677,486 (17.3% of all households, #37 highest)

Michigan reported almost a million child-support cases, showing the high number of single-parent households in the Great Lake State. A reported 56% of new mothers are unwed in Michigan, and up to 35% of children raised by one parent, with 78% of those children brought up by their mothers. The poverty rate for children living with a solo parent is six times higher than children raised by married couples.

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#20. California

- Single-parent households: 1.2 million (8.9% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 822,540 (6.3% of all households, #27 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 334,810 (2.6% of all households, #9 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 2.8 million (21.7% of all households, #6 highest)

The Public Policy Institute of California reports up to 30% of adolescents live in single-parent households. While 18% reside with single mothers, 5% live with domestic partners, and solo fathers raise 2%. Most children who reside with single parents in California are African American, showing a noticeable racial disparity. Additionally, many Golden State kids receive childcare from a relative.

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#19. Kentucky

- Single-parent households: 156,094 (9.0% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 115,450 (6.7% of all households, #20 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 40,644 (2.4% of all households, #23 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 311,662 (18.0% of all households, #28 highest)

"Kentucky by the Numbers," a comprehensive poverty update on the state’s 58 counties, reports more married couples live with children in poverty than single parents. The Bluegrass State offers a program called "One Parent Scholar House" to its 156,094 single-parent households, an opportunity for solo moms and dads to get a college degree complete with childcare.

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#18. Maryland

- Single-parent households: 198,977 (9.1% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 150,304 (6.9% of all households, #16 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 48,673 (2.2% of all households, #32 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 429,991 (19.6% of all households, #14 highest)

Poverty rates remain high for unmarried Maryland Black mothers who do not see the proper child support owed them. Some single mothers receive school supplies and backpacks for their children that they can’t afford to purchase. An annual food drive in Baltimore makes the holidays a bit better for financially strapped single-parent families, with “Building Our Nation’s Daughters” supplying 270 food baskets for Thanksgiving 2020.

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#17. Tennessee

- Single-parent households: 233,082 (9.1% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 177,368 (6.9% of all households, #15 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 55,714 (2.2% of all households, #35 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 455,023 (17.7% of all households, #33 highest)

Southern states, including Tennessee, have higher percentages of single-parent households, with the state averaging 2.4% higher than the national median of 32.1%. However, unlike states that see single-mothers increase and single-fathers lessen, Tennessee reports solo-father households increased to 7.4% in 2019.

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#16. Alabama

- Single-parent households: 171,668 (9.2% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 138,690 (7.5% of all households, #5 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 32,978 (1.8% of all households, #49 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 315,685 (17.0% of all households, #39 highest)

Birmingham has the second-highest number of solo moms and dads in America, with almost three-quarters of the households run by one adult guardian. Of the 72.1% of the single parent population, women run 65.8% of the homes, and male parents govern 7.9%. Up to 41% of the single-parent households fall below the poverty line, leaving the vulnerable population at risk. The state’s extreme poverty rate is 11%, while the food insecurity percentage is 16.3%.

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#15. North Carolina

- Single-parent households: 362,645 (9.3% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 276,724 (7.1% of all households, #11 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 85,921 (2.2% of all households, #33 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 717,865 (18.3% of all households, #25 highest)

From 2016 to 2017, North Carolina single fathers increased by more than 7,000. While single mother household numbers are the lowest since 2007 at 269,396, the record number of single fathers, at 98,434, have consistently risen since 1960.

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#14. Arizona

- Single-parent households: 233,649 (9.3% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 166,321 (6.6% of all households, #21 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 67,328 (2.7% of all households, #6 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 450,094 (17.8% of all households, #32 highest)

The COVID-19 pandemic’s death toll, which reached more than 351,000 as of Jan. 4, is robbing families of parents and their income contributions, as is the case of an Arizona woman whose husband died of the virus at age 47. The last U.S. Census Bureau American Community Survey, taken every five years, recorded one out of every five children raised in a single-parent household. Counties La Paz, in the western section of the state, and Apache, in the northeast, have the highest number of solo mom and dad run homes at 47%.

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#13. Rhode Island

- Single-parent households: 38,288 (9.3% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 29,582 (7.2% of all households, #9 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 8,706 (2.1% of all households, #40 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 67,782 (16.5% of all households, #41 highest)

Single parents in Rhode Island need to earn an annual salary of $52,932 to live in the region, which is why up to three-quarters of them “fall short” financially, according to an economic progress report. The state provides assistance programs for single-parent households, including tax credits, monetary subsidies, and childcare assistance.

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#12. South Carolina

- Single-parent households: 178,698 (9.4% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 140,891 (7.4% of all households, #6 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 37,807 (2.0% of all households, #44 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 309,327 (16.3% of all households, #43 highest)

South Carolina single-parent households are experiencing a tough time during COVID-19, with solo mothers especially burdened. With 41% of children raised by single parents in the Palmetto State, which is almost 10% more than the national average, food and fundamental need deficit is a daily reality. The director of Children’s Trust of South Carolina says it makes sense why single-parent households, no matter the gender, fall beneath the poverty threshold because of lack of structural support.

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#11. Ohio

- Single-parent households: 441,941 (9.5% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 330,674 (7.1% of all households, #10 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 111,267 (2.4% of all households, #19 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 787,505 (16.9% of all households, #40 highest)

Christmas in COVID-19 was a little less financially stressful for some Queen City single moms because two children raised by solo parents paid it forward with “Make a Kid Merry,” giving 50 Buckeye State kids a holiday otherwise not possible. Ohio single mothers make four times less than married couples, with 49.3% solo moms and 25.4% of full-time fathers living below the poverty line.

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#10. Indiana

- Single-parent households: 243,653 (9.5% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 178,267 (7.0% of all households, #13 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 65,386 (2.6% of all households, #10 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 474,546 (18.6% of all households, #24 highest)

The Hoosier State reports almost 200,000 children raised by one parent; 182,958 raised by mothers, and 66,289 brought up by fathers. However, nearly half of the solo-father houses include an unwed partner, unlike that of single mothers. Research shows 20% of single mothers cohabitate with a domestic partner.

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#9. Alaska

- Single-parent households: 24,293 (9.6% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 15,961 (6.3% of all households, #30 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 8,332 (3.3% of all households, #1 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 55,303 (21.8% of all households, #4 highest)

60,000 Alaskan children are raised by single parents, with 40,000 adolescents brought up by their mothers. Ten thousand of those children live in poverty-stricken regions of the state. Up to 83% of Alaskan kids show family "resilience traits” like problem solving, optimism, self-sufficiency, and strong communication.

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#8. Oklahoma

- Single-parent households: 143,184 (9.7% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 103,223 (7.0% of all households, #12 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 39,961 (2.7% of all households, #5 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 281,542 (19.1% of all households, #20 highest)

With only 39% of Oklahoma children living with two parents, more than half of the children in the state struggle harder when raised by one guardian. Regardless of the $70 million Oklahoma invested in reducing divorce rates, the Sooner State has a high single-parent rate. Along the Arkansas River in one of the state’s largest cities of Tulsa, one in three homes are led by single parents.

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#7. Arkansas

- Single-parent households: 112,168 (9.7% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 85,122 (7.4% of all households, #8 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 27,046 (2.3% of all households, #25 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 206,094 (17.9% of all households, #31 highest)

Food deficit increased in Arkansas from 17% to 22% due to COVID-19, with programs like “Farmers to Families Food Box,” working to keep low-income families, including single parents, fed. A reported 165,000 children in the state live in poverty. Meanwhile, the Single Parent Scholarship Fund in Arkansas encourages solo moms and dads to seek out an education to earn a higher income.

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#6. Nevada

- Single-parent households: 105,994 (9.9% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 73,278 (6.8% of all households, #17 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 32,716 (3.0% of all households, #2 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 186,768 (17.4% of all households, #36 highest)

In Clark County, Nevada, Sin City is where single-parent households make up 39% of the family groups in the state’s southern region. The other 15 Nevada Counties also have high single parenthood rates. The state, which has grown seven-fold in population since 1960, ranks 14th for America’s largest families.

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#5. Texas

- Single-parent households: 975,612 (10.2% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 750,376 (7.9% of all households, #4 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 225,236 (2.4% of all households, #20 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 2.2 million (22.6% of all households, #2 highest)

The news report “Going It Alone” describes the depressing daily life of one single mother in the Lone Star State, where solo parents run more than 40% of families. The National Center for Children in Poverty reports 3,303,557 of Texas children—46%—reside in low-income residences, up 7% from the national average of 39%.

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#4. New Mexico

- Single-parent households: 79,570 (10.3% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 57,400 (7.4% of all households, #7 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 22,170 (2.9% of all households, #3 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 123,568 (15.9% of all households, #47 highest)

New Mexico hopes to increase childcare assistance, maintain Medicaid eligibility, and expand teen mom home-visiting programs to decrease the 193,000 number of children raised by single parents. The number 41 stands for both the percentage of single-parent households in New Mexico struggling and how much higher the poverty rate was than the U.S. average in 2017 for children in the Land of Enchantment.

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#3. Georgia

- Single-parent households: 384,479 (10.4% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 303,784 (8.2% of all households, #3 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 80,695 (2.2% of all households, #34 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 726,727 (19.6% of all households, #15 highest)

Atlanta, Georgia, has a high population of single parents, coming in second to Houston, Texas, in a Magnify Money Survey, which considered workplace protection, hours of employment, community affordability, and income as the four main factors affecting single parents. “Single parenthood appears to be more challenging financially in Southern states, with locations in Texas, Georgia, Alabama and South Carolina,” according to the report.

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#2. Louisiana

- Single-parent households: 190,128 (11.0% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 148,278 (8.5% of all households, #2 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 41,850 (2.4% of all households, #15 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 281,113 (16.2% of all households, #45 highest)

Though almost as common as married-couple households, single-parent families in Louisiana struggle to survive. No private insurance and tax credits for children leave many single mothers destitute, needing to earn more than the federal minimum wage at $9.55 per hour.

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#1. Mississippi

- Single-parent households: 125,697 (11.4% of all households)
--- Single mom households: 101,762 (9.2% of all households, #1 highest among states)
--- Single dad households: 23,935 (2.2% of all households, #36 highest)
- Married couple with kids households: 180,186 (16.3% of all households, #44 highest)

The Hospitality State is the worst U.S. region for single parents and child poverty. There is notable racial disparity in the white and African American single-parent groups. While 46% of Black children with a single parent live in poverty, only 15% of white children do. That’s because of state policies enacted by legislatures that are disproportionately white resulting in low public funding for schools, shrinking coverage for Medicaid, an incarceration system that results in an overrepresentation of Black people in Mississippi prisons and jails, and gerrymandering and voter laws crafted to disenfranchise voters—a key reason no African American has been elected to a statewide post in the state for 129 years.

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