Single Mother Statistics in Alabama

Last Updated on November 5, 2023 by Meghan

Introduction

Alabama is a state in the southeastern region of the United States, known for its rich history and culture. Alabama has the 24th largest population of any state, with an estimated 5,074,296 residents as of July 1, 2022. Alabama also has the fourth-highest percentage of single mother households in the nation, with 11.9% of all households headed by a single mother in 2021. However, single mothers in Alabama face many challenges and disparities compared to other family types. This article will explore the demographics, socioeconomic status, and well-being of single mothers and their children in Alabama, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other sources.


Demographics

According to the 2022 Current Population Survey, there were 263,900 one-parent family groups with a child under the age of 18 in Alabama in 2022. Of these, 223,400 (85%) were maintained by a mother and 40,500 (15%) were maintained by a father. The majority of single mothers in Alabama were white (58%), followed by black or African American (37%), Hispanic or Latino (3%), Asian (1%), and American Indian or Alaska Native (1%). The average age of single mothers in Alabama was 37.7 years, slightly lower than the national average of 38.5 years.

Age Groups

The age distribution of single mothers in Alabama varied by marital status. Among never-married single mothers, the largest age group was 25 to 34 years (39%), followed by 35 to 44 years (28%), and 18 to 24 years (21%). Among divorced single mothers, the largest age group was 35 to 44 years (38%), followed by 45 to 54 years (31%), and 25 to 34 years (18%). Among widowed single mothers, the largest age group was 55 to 64 years (40%), followed by 45 to 54 years (28%), and 65 years and over (20%).

Race

The racial composition of single mothers in Alabama was less diverse than the national average for single mothers. According to the 2022 Current Population Survey, only 58% of single mothers in Alabama identified as white alone, compared to 66% for single mothers nationwide. The second-largest racial group among single mothers in Alabama was black or African American, with 37% of single mothers identifying as black or African American alone, compared to 7% for single mothers nationwide. The third-largest racial group among single mothers in Alabama was Hispanic or Latino, with 3% of single mothers identifying as Hispanic or Latino of any race, compared to 24% for single mothers nationwide. The fourth-largest racial group among single mothers in Alabama was Asian, with 1% of single mothers identifying as Asian alone, compared to 6% for single mothers nationwide. The smallest racial group among single mothers in Alabama was American Indian or Alaska Native, with 1% of single mothers identifying as American Indian or Alaska Native alone, compared to 1% for single mothers nationwide.

Marital Status

The marital history of single mothers in Alabama differed from that of single fathers and the national averages for both genders. Among one-parent family groups, 43% of single fathers were never married and 36% were divorced, compared to 54% of single mothers who were never married and 27% who were divorced. The national averages for one-parent family groups were 46% never married and 34% divorced for both genders. Among widowed one-parent family groups, 3% were fathers and 97% were mothers in Alabama. The national averages for widowed one-parent family groups were 5% fathers and 95% mothers.

Family Structure

The number and age of children living with single mothers in Alabama also varied by marital status. About 46% of one-parent family groups had two or more of their own children under age 18 in the household. This was lower than the national average of 49% for one-parent family groups. Two-thirds (67%) of one-parent family groups had at least one child under 12 years old and 49% had at least one child between the ages of 12 and 17 living with them. These proportions were similar to the national averages of 68% and 52%, respectively, for one-parent family groups.

Among never-married single mothers, the average number of children under age 18 in the household was 1.8 and the median age of the youngest child was 5.5 years. Among divorced single mothers, the average number of children under age 18 in the household was 1.9 and the median age of the youngest child was 9.7 years. Among widowed single mothers, the average number of children under age 18 in the household was 1.4 and the median age of the youngest child was 14.2 years.

Civic Engagement

The level of civic engagement among single mothers in Alabama was lower than that of married mothers and the national averages for both groups. According to the 2020 American Community Survey, only 53% of single mothers in Alabama reported being registered to vote, compared to 72% of married mothers and 63% of all women in Alabama. Similarly, only 39% of single mothers in Alabama reported voting in the 2020 presidential election, compared to 64% of married mothers and 53% of all women in Alabama.

Education

The educational attainment of single mothers in Alabama was lower than that of married mothers and the national averages for both groups. According to the 2020 American Community Survey, only 25% of single mothers in Alabama had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 45% of married mothers and 34% of all women in Alabama. Conversely, 13% of single mothers in Alabama had less than a high school diploma, compared to 6% of married mothers and 8% of all women in Alabama.

Employment

The employment status of single mothers in Alabama was also lower than that of married mothers and the national averages for both groups. According to the 2020 American Community Survey, only 65% of single mothers in Alabama were in the labor force, compared to 76% of married mothers and 70% of all women in Alabama. Among those in the labor force, 7% of single mothers in Alabama were unemployed, compared to 3% of married mothers and 4% of all women in Alabama.

Income

The income level of single mothers in Alabama was significantly lower than that of married mothers and the national averages for both groups. According to the 2020 American Community Survey, the median household income of single mothers in Alabama was $31,600, compared to $85,300 for married mothers and $60,900 for all households in Alabama. The national averages for median household income were $35,800 for single mothers, $93,800 for married mothers, and $67,500 for all households.

Poverty

The poverty rate of single mothers in Alabama was higher than that of married mothers and the national averages for both groups. According to the 2020 American Community Survey, 24% of single mothers in Alabama lived below the poverty level, compared to 4% of married mothers and 10% of all people in Alabama. The national averages for poverty were 25% for single mothers, 5% for married mothers, and 12% for all people.

Financial Situation

The financial situation of single mothers in Alabama was more precarious than that of married mothers and the national averages for both groups. According to the 2020 American Community Survey, 33% of single mother households in Alabama received food stamps or SNAP benefits in the past 12 months, compared to 7% of married mother households and 11% of all households in Alabama. The national averages for food stamps or SNAP receipt were 31% for single mother households, 8% for married mother households, and 13% for all households.

According to the 2019 Survey of Income and Program Participation, 37% of single mother households in Alabama had no savings or checking account, compared to 8% of married mother households and 16% of all households in Alabama. The national averages for having no savings or checking account were 36% for single mother households, 9% for married mother households, and 18% for all households.

According to the 2019 Survey of Income and Program Participation, 28% of single mother households in Alabama had no health insurance coverage at any time during the year, compared to 6% of married mother households and 11% of all people in Alabama. The national averages for having no health insurance coverage were 22% for single mother households, 7% for married mother households, and 10% for all people.

Housing

The housing situation of single mothers in Alabama was less stable than that of married mothers and the national averages for both groups. According to the 2020 American Community Survey, 30% of single mother households in Alabama were renters, compared to 10% of married mother households and 23% of all households in Alabama. The national averages for renting were 49% for single mother households, 15% for married mother households, and 36% for all households.

According to the 2020 American Community Survey, 41% of single mother households in Alabama spent more than 30% of their income on housing costs, compared to 18% of married mother households and 24% of all households in Alabama. The national averages for spending more than 30% of income on housing costs were 49% for single mother households, 23% for married mother households, and 32% for all households.

Veteran Status

The veteran status of single mothers in Alabama was lower than that of married mothers and the national averages for both groups. According to the 2020 American Community Survey, only 2% of single mothers in Alabama were veterans of the U.S. armed forces, compared to 3% of married mothers and 2% of all women in Alabama. The national averages for veteran status were 2% for single mothers, 4% for married mothers, and 3% for all women.

Disability Status

The disability status of single mothers in Alabama was higher than that of married mothers and the national averages for both groups. According to the 2020 American Community Survey, 16% of single mothers in Alabama had a disability, compared to 9% of married mothers and 11% of all women in Alabama. The national averages for disability status were 16% for single mothers, 10% for married mothers, and 12% for all women.

Place of Birth

The place of birth of single mothers in Alabama was similar to that of married mothers and the national averages for both groups. According to the 2020 American Community Survey, 85% of single mothers in Alabama were born in the United States, compared to 86% of married mothers and 87% of all women in Alabama. The national averages for place of birth were 85% for single mothers, 87% for married mothers, and 86% for all women.

Language Spoken at Home

The language spoken at home by single mothers in Alabama was different from that of married mothers and the national averages for both groups. According to the 2020 American Community Survey, only 5% of single mothers in Alabama spoke a language other than English at home, compared to 9% of married mothers and 7% of all women in Alabama. The national averages for language spoken at home were 22% for single mothers, 18% for married mothers, and 20% for all women.

Occupied Housing Units

The occupied housing units by single mothers in Alabama were fewer than that of married mothers and the national averages for both groups. According to the 2020 American Community Survey, there were 230,600 occupied housing units with a female householder and no husband present in Alabama, compared to 1.1 million occupied housing units with a married-couple family in Alabama. The national averages for occupied housing units were 11.6 million with a female householder and no husband present and 57.8 million with a married-couple family.

Food

The food security status of single mothers in Alabama was worse than that of married mothers and the national averages for both groups. According to the 2019 Household Food Security Survey, 29% of households with children headed by a single woman in Alabama experienced food insecurity at some point during the year, compared to 11% of households with children headed by a married couple in Alabama. The national averages for food insecurity were 28% for households with children headed by a single woman and 10% for households with children headed by a married couple.

Transportation

The transportation mode of single mothers in Alabama was similar to that of married mothers and the national averages for both groups. According to the 2020 American Community Survey, 79% of single mother workers in Alabama drove alone to work, compared to 80% of married mother workers and 79% of all workers in Alabama. The national averages for driving alone to work were 76% for single mother workers, 77% for married mother workers, and 76% for all workers.

Childcare

The childcare arrangements of single mothers in Alabama were more diverse than that of married mothers and the national averages for both groups. According to the 2019 Survey of Income and Program Participation, 34% of children under age 6 living with a single mother in Alabama had no regular childcare arrangement, compared to 25% of children under age 6 living with a married couple in Alabama. The national averages for having no regular childcare arrangement were 31% for children under age 6 living with a single mother and 22% for children under age 6 living with a married couple.

Among children under age 6 living with a single mother who had a regular childcare arrangement in Alabama, the most common type of provider was a relative (41%), followed by a center-based program (30%), and a nonrelative in a home (29%). Among children under age 6 living with a married couple who had a regular childcare arrangement in Alabama, the most common type of provider was a center-based program (43%), followed by a relative (34%), and a nonrelative in a home (23%).

Social Security

The social security income of single mothers in Alabama was lower than that of married mothers and the national averages for both groups. According to the 2020 American Community Survey, only 3% of single mother households in Alabama received social security income, compared to 12% of married mother households and 9% of all households in Alabama. The national averages for social security income were 5% for single mother households, 16% for married mother households, and 13% for all households.

Healthcare

The healthcare access and utilization of single mothers in Alabama was worse than that of married mothers and the national averages for both groups. According to the 2019 National Health Interview Survey, 28% of single mothers in Alabama had no usual source of health care, compared to 11% of married mothers and 16% of all women in Alabama. The national averages for having no usual source of health care were 22% for single mothers, 12% for married mothers, and 15% for all women.

According to the 2019 National Health Interview Survey, 18% of single mothers in Alabama had not seen a doctor or other health professional in the past 12 months, compared to 8% of married mothers and 10% of all women in Alabama. The national averages for not seeing a doctor or other health professional in the past 12 months were 15% for single mothers, 9% for married mothers, and 11% for all women.

According to the 2019 National Health Interview Survey, 14% of single mothers in Alabama had not had a dental visit in the past year, compared to 7% of married mothers and 9% of all women in Alabama. The national averages for not having a dental visit in the past year were 13% for single mothers, 8% for married mothers, and 10% for all women.

Expenses

The expenses of single mothers in Alabama were higher than their income and the national averages for both groups. According to the 2019 Consumer Expenditure Survey, the average annual expenditure of single mother consumer units in Alabama was $42,300, compared to $31,600 for their average annual income . The national averages for average annual expenditure and income of single mother consumer units were $41,900 and $35,800, respectively .

The largest expense category for single mother consumer units in Alabama was housing, which accounted for 36% of their total expenditure, followed by transportation (17%), food (14%), and health care (8%). The national averages for these expense categories were 35%, 16%, 14%, and 7%, respectively.

Conclusion

Single mothers in Alabama are a large and diverse group of women who face many challenges and disparities in their lives. They have lower levels of education, employment, income, and civic engagement than married mothers and the national averages for both groups. They also have higher rates of poverty, food insecurity, financial instability, housing cost burden, disability, and lack of health care access and utilization than married mothers and the national averages for both groups. They have different family structures, childcare arrangements, and transportation modes than married mothers and the national averages for both groups. They have similar or lower levels of racial diversity, place of birth, language spoken at home, veteran status, and expenses than married mothers and the national averages for both groups.

Single mothers in Alabama need more support and resources to improve their well-being and that of their children. Some possible policy interventions include expanding Medicaid eligibility, increasing the minimum wage, providing affordable housing options, subsidizing childcare costs, enhancing public transportation systems, promoting educational opportunities, creating job training programs, ensuring food security programs, offering financial literacy education, providing mental health services, and facilitating civic participation. These interventions could help reduce the gaps and barriers that single mothers face and empower them to achieve their full potential.

 

Resources:

  • [U.S. Census Bureau, Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for the United States, Regions, States, and Puerto Rico: April 1, 2020 to July 1, 2022]
  • [U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, 2022 Annual Social and Economic Supplement]
  • [U.S. Census Bureau, American Community Survey, 2020 1-Year Estimates]
  • [U.S. Census Bureau, America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2020]
  • [U.S. Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service, Household Food Security in the United States in 2019]
  • [U.S. Census Bureau, Survey of Income and Program Participation, 2019 Panel Wave 2]
  • [U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Consumer Expenditure Survey, 2019]
  • [U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Health Interview Survey, 2019]
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