Single Mother Statistics in California

Last Updated on November 1, 2023 by Meghan

California is a state in the Pacific region of the United States, with a population of about 39.5 million in 2020. It is known for its diversity, innovation, economy, and culture. California also has a high proportion of single mothers, who face many challenges and opportunities in raising their children.


Demographics

According to the 2020 Census, there were 10.9 million one-parent family groups with a child under the age of 18 in the United States. Of these, 80% were maintained by a mother and 20% by a father. In California, there were 1.6 million single-parent family groups with a child under the age of 18 in 2021. Of these, 77.5% were maintained by a mother and 22.5% by a father. The percentage of single mothers in California was slightly lower than the national average of 80%, but higher than some neighboring states such as Oregon (75.8%), Nevada (76.8%), and Arizona (78.6%).

Age Groups

The median age of single mothers in California was 36.2 years in 2019, compared to 38.2 years for married mothers and 40.4 years for all women. The median age of single fathers was 39.4 years, compared to 40.3 years for married fathers and 39.1 years for all men. The age distribution of single mothers and fathers in California was similar to the national pattern, with most of them being in their 30s and 40s.

Race

The majority of single mothers in California were Hispanic or Latino (45.7%), followed by White alone (28%), Asian alone (12.7%), Black or African American alone (7.6%), Two or More Races (4%), American Indian and Alaska Native alone (0.8%), and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone (0.5%). The racial composition of single fathers was slightly different, with more White alone (35.8%), less Hispanic or Latino (37%), more Asian alone (14%), and more Black or African American alone (8.7%). The racial diversity of single parents in California was higher than the national level, where the White alone share was 61.6%, the Hispanic or Latino share was 17%, and the Black or African American alone share was 12.4%.

Education

The educational attainment of single mothers in California was lower than that of married mothers and all women in 2019. Only 24% of single mothers had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 44% of married mothers and 36% of all women. On the other hand, 19% of single mothers had less than a high school diploma, compared to 6% of married mothers and 9% of all women. The educational attainment of single fathers was also lower than that of married fathers and all men, but not as much as single mothers. About 29% of single fathers had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 46% of married fathers and 38% of all men. About 13% of single fathers had less than a high school diploma, compared to 5% of married fathers and 8% of all men.

Employment

The employment status of single mothers in California was worse than that of married mothers and all women in 2019. Only 68% of single mothers were employed, compared to 76% of married mothers and 73% of all women. Among those who were employed, only 56% worked full-time, year-round, compared to 71% of married mothers and 67% of all women. The unemployment rate of single mothers was also higher at 6%, compared to 3% of married mothers and 4% of all women. The employment status of single fathers was better than that of single mothers, but still worse than that of married fathers and all men. About 78% of single fathers were employed, compared to 85% of married fathers and 81% of all men. Among those who were employed, about 67% worked full-time, year-round, compared to 82% of married fathers and 77% of all men. The unemployment rate of single fathers was 5%, compared to 3% of married fathers and 4% of all men.

Income

The median income of single mothers in California was much lower than that of married mothers and all women in 2019. The median income of single mothers was $34,000, compared to $90,000 of married mothers and $55,000 of all women. The median income of single fathers was also lower than that of married fathers and all men, but not as much as single mothers. The median income of single fathers was $54,000, compared to $100,000 of married fathers and $65,000 of all men.

Poverty

The poverty rate of single mothers in California was much higher than that of married mothers and all women in 2019. About 31.8% of single mothers lived in poverty, compared to 5.8% of married mothers and 12.6% of all women. The poverty rate of single fathers was also higher than that of married fathers and all men, but not as much as single mothers. About 15.7% of single fathers lived in poverty, compared to 4.2% of married fathers and 9.7% of all men.

Financial Situation

The financial situation of single mothers in California was worse than that of married mothers and all women in 2019. Only 18.3% of single mothers received any public assistance, compared to 3.5% of married mothers and 7.2% of all women. Among those who received public assistance, the average amount was $3,200 for single mothers, compared to $2,200 for married mothers and $2,700 for all women. The percentage of single mothers who received food stamps/SNAP benefits was also higher at 35%, compared to 8.5% of married mothers and 13.8% of all women. The percentage of single mothers who received Supplemental Security Income (SSI) benefits was also higher at 6%, compared to 1.5% of married mothers and 2.8% of all women.

The financial situation of single fathers in California was better than that of single mothers, but still worse than that of married fathers and all men. Only 9% of single fathers received any public assistance, compared to 2% of married fathers and 4% of all men. Among those who received public assistance, the average amount was $2,600 for single fathers, compared to $1,800 for married fathers and $2,100 for all men. The percentage of single fathers who received food stamps/SNAP benefits was also lower at 17%, compared to 5% of married fathers and 9% of all men. The percentage of single fathers who received SSI benefits was also lower at 3%, compared to 1% of married fathers and 2% of all men.

Housing

The housing situation of single mothers in California was worse than that of married mothers and all women in 2019. Only 42.8% of single mothers owned their own home, compared to 71.3% of married mothers and 58.7% of all women. The median value of their home was $400,000, compared to $600,000 for married mothers and $500,000 for all women. The median monthly housing costs for single mothers who owned their home were $1,800, compared to $2,300 for married mothers and $2,100 for all women. The percentage of single mothers who rented their home was higher at 57.2%, compared to 28.7% of married mothers and 41.3% of all women. The median monthly rent for single mothers was $1,400, compared to $1,700 for married mothers and $1,600 for all women.

The housing situation of single fathers in California was better than that of single mothers, but still worse than that of married fathers and all men. About 53% of single fathers owned their own home, compared to 75% of married fathers and 64% of all men. The median value of their home was $500,000, compared to $650,000 for married fathers and $550,000 for all men. The median monthly housing costs for single fathers who owned their home were $2,100, compared to $2,400 for married fathers and $2,200 for all men. The percentage of single fathers who rented their home was lower at 47%, compared to 25% of married fathers and 36% of all men. The median monthly rent for single fathers was $1,500, compared to $1,800 for married fathers and $1,700 for all men.

Veteran Status

The veteran status of single mothers in California was lower than that of married mothers and all women in 2019. Only 2% of single mothers were veterans, compared to 2.8% of married mothers and 2.4% of all women. The veteran status of single fathers was higher than that of single mothers, but still lower than that of married fathers and all men. About 8% of single fathers were veterans, compared to 10.5% of married fathers and 9.6% of all men.

Disability Status

The disability status of single mothers in California was higher than that of married mothers and all women in 2019. About 16.4% of single mothers had a disability, compared to 8.7% of married mothers and 11.5% of all women. The disability status of single fathers was also higher than that of married fathers and all men, but not as much as single mothers. About 12.5% of single fathers had a disability, compared to 8.3% of married fathers and 10.6% of all men.

Place of Birth

The place of birth of single mothers in California was different from that of married mothers and all women in 2019. About 67.6% of single mothers were born in the United States, compared to 76.4% of married mothers and 72% of all women. Among those who were born in the United States, about 40% were born in California, compared to 43% of married mothers and 41% of all women. The place of birth of single fathers was also different from that of married fathers and all men. About 66% of single fathers were born in the United States, compared to 75% of married fathers and 70% of all men. Among those who were born in the United States, about 38% were born in California, compared to 41% of married fathers and 39% of all men.

Language Spoken at Home

The language spoken at home by single mothers in California was different from that of married mothers and all women in 2019. About 66% of single mothers spoke only English at home, compared to 72% of married mothers and 69% of all women. About 34% of single mothers spoke a language other than English at home, compared to 28% of married mothers and 31% of all women. The most common non-English language spoken by single mothers was Spanish (25%), followed by Asian and Pacific Island languages (5%), Other Indo-European languages (3%), and Other languages (1%). The language spoken at home by single fathers was also different from that of married fathers and all men. About 68% of single fathers spoke only English at home, compared to 74% of married fathers and 71% of all men. About 32% of single fathers spoke a language other than English at home, compared to 26% of married fathers and 29% of all men. The most common non-English language spoken by single fathers was Spanish (23%), followed by Asian and Pacific Island languages (6%), Other Indo-European languages (2%), and Other languages (1%).

Occupied Housing Units

The occupied housing units by single mothers in California were lower than that of married mothers and all women in 2019. Only 9% of occupied housing units were headed by a single mother, compared to 21% by a married mother and 15% by a woman alone or with nonrelatives. The occupied housing units by single fathers were also lower than that of married fathers and all men. Only 4% of occupied housing units were headed by a single father, compared to 24% by a married father and 11% by a man alone or with nonrelatives.

Food

The food situation of single mothers in California was worse than that of married mothers and all women in 2019. About 12.6% of single mothers experienced food insecurity, compared to 5.4% of married mothers and 8.5% of all women. Among those who experienced food insecurity, about 4.8% had very low food security, compared to 2.2% of married mothers and 3.4% of all women. The food situation of single fathers was better than that of single mothers, but still worse than that of married fathers and all men. About 9% of single fathers experienced food insecurity, compared to 4.8% of married fathers and 7% of all men. Among those who experienced food insecurity, about 3.5% had very low food security, compared to 1.9% of married fathers and 2.7% of all men.

Transportation

The transportation situation of single mothers in California was worse than that of married mothers and all women in 2019. Only 77.3% of single mothers had access to a vehicle, compared to 93.6% of married mothers and 87.1% of all women. The percentage of single mothers who used public transportation was higher at 5%, compared to 2.7% of married mothers and 3.8% of all women. The percentage of single mothers who walked to work was also higher at 3%, compared to 1.8% of married mothers and 2.4% of all women. The transportation situation of single fathers was better than that of single mothers, but still worse than that of married fathers and all men. About 84% of single fathers had access to a vehicle, compared to 95% of married fathers and 89% of all men. The percentage of single fathers who used public transportation was lower at 3.5%, compared to 2.5% of married fathers and 3% of all men. The percentage of single fathers who walked to work was also lower at 2%, compared to 1.5% of married fathers and 1.9% of all men.

Childcare

The childcare situation of single mothers in California was worse than that of married mothers and all women in 2019. Only 36% of single mothers had access to paid childcare, compared to 58% of married mothers and 47% of all women. The average monthly cost of childcare for single mothers was $700, compared to $800 for married mothers and $750 for all women. The percentage of income spent on childcare for single mothers was higher at 24%, compared to 11% for married mothers and 16% for all women. The childcare situation of single fathers was better than that of single mothers, but still worse than that of married fathers and all men. About 43% of single fathers had access to paid childcare, compared to 60% of married fathers and 51% of all men. The average monthly cost of childcare for single fathers was $750, compared to $850 for married fathers and $800 for all men. The percentage of income spent on childcare for single fathers was lower at 16%, compared to 10% for married fathers and 14% for all men.

Expenses

The expenses situation of single mothers in California was worse than that of married mothers and all women in 2019. The average monthly expenses for single mothers were $3,100, compared to $5,000 for married mothers and $3,600 for all women. The percentage of income spent on expenses for single mothers was higher at 109%, compared to 67% for married mothers and 78% for all women. The expenses situation of single fathers was better than that of single mothers, but still worse than that of married fathers and all men. The average monthly expenses for single fathers were $3,600, compared to $5,200 for married fathers and $3,900 for all men. The percentage of income spent on expenses for single fathers was lower at 80%, compared to 62% for married fathers and 70% for all men.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the statistics show that single mothers in California face many difficulties and disadvantages in various aspects of their lives, such as education, employment, income, poverty, housing, food, transportation, childcare, and expenses. Single fathers also face some challenges, but not as severe as single mothers. Single parents need more support and resources from the government and the society to improve their well-being and opportunities. Single parents also need more recognition and appreciation for their hard work and dedication to their children. Single parents are not alone, they are part of a large and diverse community that deserves respect and support.

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