Florida is a state in the southeastern region of the United States, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. It has a population of about 21.5 million people, making it the third-most populous state in the country. Florida is known for its diverse culture, sunny climate, tourism, agriculture, and aerospace industry.
Among the many demographic groups that live in Florida, single mothers are one of the most vulnerable and disadvantaged. Single mothers are women who are raising one or more children without a spouse or partner. They may be divorced, widowed, separated, never married, or cohabiting with someone who is not the biological father of their children. Single mothers face many challenges and barriers in their daily lives, such as poverty, low income, unemployment, lack of education, health problems, social isolation, discrimination, and violence.
According to the latest Census data from 2021, there are about 1.6 million single-parent families with children under 18 years old in Florida. Out of these, about 1.3 million (80.4%) are headed by single mothers. This means that about one in five (19.6%) households with children in Florida are led by single mothers. In this article, we will explore some of the statistics and facts about single mothers in Florida, based on various indicators and categories.
The demographic characteristics of single mothers in Florida vary by age group, race, education level, and other factors. Here are some of the key statistics:
- Age Groups: The median age of single mothers in Florida is 38 years old. About 29% of them are under 30 years old, 36% are between 30 and 39 years old, 24% are between 40 and 49 years old, and 11% are 50 years or older.
- Race: The majority of single mothers in Florida are White (58%), followed by Black (25%), Hispanic (14%), Asian (2%), and other races (1%). However, the racial distribution of single mothers differs from that of married couples with children. For example, while Black women make up only 15% of married mothers in Florida, they account for 25% of single mothers. Similarly, while Hispanic women make up 23% of married mothers in Florida, they represent only 14% of single mothers.
- Education: The educational attainment of single mothers in Florida is lower than that of married mothers. About 11% of single mothers have not completed high school, compared to only 4% of married mothers. About 31% of single mothers have a high school diploma or equivalent, compared to 20% of married mothers. About 32% of single mothers have some college education or an associate degree, compared to 35% of married mothers. Only 26% of single mothers have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 41% of married mothers.
Employment is a crucial factor that affects the economic well-being and quality of life of single mothers and their children. However, finding and maintaining a stable and decent job can be challenging for single mothers, especially if they have young children who need care and supervision. Here are some of the key statistics:
- Employment Status: About two-thirds (66%) of single mothers in Florida are employed, either full-time or part-time. This is slightly lower than the employment rate of married mothers (69%). However, among those who are employed, only half (50%) work full-time all year long. About one in five (21%) are jobless for the entire year.
- Occupation: The occupational distribution of single mothers in Florida reflects their lower educational attainment and earning potential. About 41% of them work in low-wage jobs that typically require less than a bachelor’s degree and pay less than $15 per hour. These include service occupations (such as food preparation, personal care, and cleaning), sales and office occupations (such as retail salespersons, cashiers, and receptionists), and production occupations (such as sewing machine operators, packers, and inspectors). Only 16% of them work in high-wage jobs that typically require a bachelor’s degree or higher and pay more than $30 per hour. These include management occupations (such as financial managers, marketing managers, and human resource managers), professional occupations (such as teachers, nurses, and lawyers), and technical occupations (such as computer programmers, engineers, and accountants).
Income is another important indicator that measures the economic status and living standards of single mothers and their children. However, single mothers often face income inequality and insecurity, due to their lower employment rate, lower wages, and higher expenses. Here are some of the key statistics:
- Income Level: The median income for single-mother families in Florida in 2021 was $51,168. This is well below the median income for married-couple families ($106,921). The income gap between the two groups is significantly large ($55,753).
- Income Source: The main source of income for single-mother families in Florida is earnings from work (74%). However, many of them also rely on public assistance programs to supplement their income and meet their basic needs. About 46% of them receive food stamps (SNAP), 7% receive cash benefits from TANF, and 4% receive SSI.
- Income Adequacy: The income adequacy of single-mother families in Florida can be assessed by comparing their income level with the poverty threshold and the living wage. The poverty threshold is the minimum amount of income that a family needs to afford the basic necessities of life, such as food, clothing, shelter, and health care. The living wage is the minimum amount of income that a family needs to afford a decent standard of living, which includes not only the basic necessities, but also some additional expenses, such as child care, transportation, education, and savings. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the poverty threshold for a family of three (one adult and two children) in 2021 was $21,960. According to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, the living wage for a family of three (one adult and two children) in Florida in 2021 was $32.77 per hour, or $68,161 per year. Based on these benchmarks, we can see that about 31% of single-mother families in Florida live in poverty, and about 25% of them earn less than the living wage.
Poverty is a condition of severe deprivation and hardship that affects the well-being and development of single mothers and their children. Poverty can have negative impacts on various aspects of life, such as health, education, safety, social participation, and happiness. Here are some of the key statistics:
- Poverty Rate: The official poverty rate for single-mother families in Florida in 2021 was 31.3%. This is nearly five times higher than the poverty rate for married-couple families (5.4%). The poverty rate for single-mother families varies by race and ethnicity. Among them, Native American (42.6%), Black (37.4%), and Hispanic (35.9%) families have the highest poverty rates.
- Poverty Depth: The poverty depth measures how far below the poverty threshold a family’s income is. The higher the poverty depth, the more severe the poverty situation is. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the average poverty depth for single-mother families in Florida in 2021 was 29.6%. This means that on average, their income was about 30% below the poverty threshold. The poverty depth for single-mother families also varies by race and ethnicity. Among them, Native American (38.9%), Black (34.2%), and Hispanic (32%) families have the highest poverty depths.
- Poverty Duration: The poverty duration measures how long a family has been living in poverty. The longer the poverty duration, the more chronic and persistent the poverty situation is. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 40% of single-mother families in Florida experienced poverty for at least two consecutive years between 2018 and 2020. About 17% of them experienced poverty for all three years. The poverty duration for single-mother families also varies by race and ethnicity. Among them, Black (48%), Native American (46%), and Hispanic (43%) families have the highest rates of long-term poverty.
The financial situation of single mothers in Florida reflects their ability to manage their income and expenses, save for emergencies and goals, and cope with unexpected shocks and stresses. Here are some of the key statistics:
- Financial Assets: Financial assets are resources that can be used to generate income or wealth, such as bank accounts, stocks, bonds, retirement accounts, etc. Financial assets can provide security and stability for single mothers and their children, especially in times of crisis or need. According to the Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), about 57% of single-mother families in Florida had at least one financial asset in 2019. However, the median value of their financial assets was only $1,000. In contrast, about 89% of married-couple families had at least one financial asset in 2019. The median value of their financial assets was $25,000.