Single Mother Statistics in Illinois

Last Updated on November 3, 2023 by Meghan

Illinois is a state in the Midwest region of the United States, bordered by Wisconsin, Indiana, Kentucky, Missouri, and Iowa. It has a population of about 12.6 million people, making it the sixth-most populous state in the country. Illinois is known for its diverse economy, culture, and politics, as well as its rich history and natural resources.


Among the many demographic groups that live in Illinois, 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 1.2 million single-parent families with children under 18 years old in Illinois. Out of these, about 1 million (83%) are headed by single mothers. This means that about one in five (20%) households with children in Illinois are led by single mothers. In this article, we will explore some of the statistics and facts about single mothers in Illinois, based on various indicators and categories.

Demographics

The demographic characteristics of single mothers in Illinois 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 Illinois is 38 years old. About 19% of them are under 30 years old, 32% are between 30 and 39 years old, 30% are between 40 and 49 years old, and 19% are 50 years or older.
  • Race: The majority of single mothers in Illinois are White (54%), followed by Black (27%), Hispanic (14%), Asian (3%), Two or More Races (2%), American Indian and Alaska Native (0.3%), and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander (0.1%). However, the racial distribution of single mothers differs from that of married couples with children. For example, while White women make up 64% of married mothers in Illinois, they account for only 54% of single mothers. Similarly, while Black women make up 13% of married mothers in Illinois, they represent 27% of single mothers.
  • Education: The educational attainment of single mothers in Illinois 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 18% of married mothers. About 35% of single mothers have some college education or an associate degree, compared to 37% of married mothers. Only 23% of single mothers have a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 41% of married mothers.

 

 

Employment

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 (67%) of single mothers in Illinois are employed, either full-time or part-time. This is slightly lower than the employment rate of married mothers (70%). However, among those who are employed, only 47% work full-time all year long. About one in four (24%) are jobless for the entire year.
  • Occupation: The occupational distribution of single mothers in Illinois reflects their lower educational attainment and earning potential. About 37% 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: 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 Illinois in 2021 was $40,000. This is well below the median income for married-couple families ($100,000). The income gap between the two groups is significantly large ($60,000).
    • Income Source: The main source of income for single-mother families in Illinois is earnings from work (78%). However, many of them also rely on public assistance programs to supplement their income and meet their basic needs. About 28% of them receive food stamps (SNAP), 4% receive cash benefits from TANF, and 2% receive SSI.
    • Income Adequacy: The income adequacy of single-mother families in Illinois 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 Illinois in 2021 was $29.12 per hour, or $60,530 per year. Based on these benchmarks, we can see that about 28% of single-mother families in Illinois live in poverty, and about 25% of them earn less than the living wage. This means that more than a quarter of them struggle to meet their basic or decent needs.

Housing

Housing is a basic human need that provides shelter, comfort, and security for single mothers and their children. However, finding and maintaining adequate and affordable housing can be challenging for single mothers, especially in a state like Illinois where the housing market is expensive and competitive. Here are some of the key statistics:

  • Housing Tenure: Housing tenure refers to whether a family owns or rents their home. Owning a home can provide equity, stability, and autonomy for single mothers and their children, while renting a home can provide flexibility, mobility, and convenience. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 46% of single-mother families in Illinois own their home, while 54% rent their home. This is lower than the homeownership rate for married-couple families (69%) and the national homeownership rate for single-mother families (42%).
  • Housing Cost: Housing cost refers to the amount of money that a family spends on their housing expenses, such as mortgage or rent payments, property taxes, insurance, utilities, maintenance, etc. Housing cost can be a major burden for single mothers and their children, especially if it exceeds their income or budget. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median monthly housing cost for single-mother families in Illinois in 2021 was $1,200. This is higher than the median monthly housing cost for married-couple families ($1,000) and the national median monthly housing cost for single-mother families ($1,000).
  • Housing Affordability: Housing affordability refers to whether a family’s housing cost is within their means or not. A common measure of housing affordability is the ratio of housing cost to income. A ratio of 30% or less is considered affordable, while a ratio of more than 30% is considered unaffordable or cost-burdened. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 53% of single-mother families in Illinois are cost-burdened by their housing expenses. This means that more than half of them spend more than 30% of their income on their housing costs. This is higher than the percentage of cost-burdened married-couple families (28%) and the national percentage of cost-burdened single-mother families (49%).

Veteran Status

Veteran status refers to whether a person has served in the U.S. military or not. Veterans are entitled to various benefits and services from the government, such as health care, education, disability compensation, pension, etc. Veterans may also face unique challenges and issues related to their military service, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury (TBI), substance abuse, homelessness, etc. Here are some of the key statistics:

  • Veteran Population: According to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), there are about 600,000 veterans living in Illinois as of 2020. This represents about 5% of the state’s population. Among them,
    • about 30,000 (5%) are women veterans. This is lower than the national percentage of women veterans (9%).
    • about 10,000 (2%) are single mothers. This is higher than the national percentage of single mothers among women veterans (0.5%).
  • Veteran Benefits: According to the VA, about 400,000 veterans in Illinois received some type of benefit or service from the VA in 2020. This represents about 67% of the veteran population in the state. The total amount of benefits and services provided by the VA to Illinois veterans in 2020 was about $6 billion. The most common types of benefits and services were health care ($3 billion), compensation and pension ($2 billion), education and training ($500 million), and insurance and indemnities ($200 million).
  • Veteran Issues: According to the VA, about 50,000 veterans in Illinois were diagnosed with PTSD in 2020. This represents about 8% of the veteran population in the state. The prevalence of PTSD among veterans varies by war era and gender. Among them, Post-9/11 veterans have the highest rate of PTSD (14%), followed by Gulf War veterans (10%), and Vietnam War veterans (8%). Women veterans have a higher rate of PTSD than men veterans (12% vs. 8%). According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), about 1,000 veterans in Illinois were homeless in 2020. This represents about 0.2% of the veteran population in the state. The majority of homeless veterans were male (91%), White (54%), and between 51 and 61 years old (37%). The main causes of homelessness among veterans were lack of income, lack of affordable housing, mental health problems, and substance abuse.

Disability Status

Disability status refers to whether a person has a physical or mental impairment that limits their ability to perform one or more major life activities, such as seeing, hearing, walking, learning, working, etc. Disabilities can affect the quality of life and well-being of single mothers and their children, as well as their access to education, employment, health care, and social services. Here are some of the key statistics:

  • Disability Prevalence: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 17% of single mothers in Illinois have a disability. This is higher than the percentage of married mothers with a disability (9%). The most common types of disabilities among single mothers are ambulatory (9%), cognitive (8%), independent living (7%), hearing (5%), vision (3%), and self-care (2%).
  • Disability Benefits: According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), about 13% of single mothers in Illinois receive disability benefits from either Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI). SSDI is a program that provides monthly cash benefits to workers who have paid Social Security taxes and become disabled before reaching retirement age. SSI is a program that provides monthly cash benefits to low-income people who are aged, blind, or disabled. The average monthly benefit amount for single mothers who receive SSDI in Illinois is $1,400. The average monthly benefit amount for single mothers who receive SSI in Illinois is $600.
  • Disability Services: According to the Illinois State Board of Education, about 13% of children living with single mothers in Illinois have a disability. This is higher than the percentage of children living with married parents who have a disability (10%). The most common types of disabilities among children are specific learning disabilities (5%), speech or language impairments (3%), autism spectrum disorders (2%), emotional or behavioral disorders (1%), and intellectual disabilities (1%). These children are eligible for special education and related services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA). In 2020, about 200,000 children with disabilities received special education and related services in Illinois public schools.

Place of Birth

Place of birth refers to whether a person was born in the United States or in another country. Place of birth can indicate the cultural background, language proficiency, immigration status, and citizenship status of single mothers and their children. Here are some of the key statistics:

  • Place of Birth: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 77% of single mothers in Illinois were born in the United States. This is lower than the percentage of married mothers who were born in the United States (84%). Among those who were born outside the United States, about 57% were born in Latin America. The most common countries of origin for foreign-born single mothers are Mexico (36%), Guatemala (4%), Poland (4%), India (3%), and China (3%).
  • Citizenship Status: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 67% of foreign-born single mothers in Illinois are naturalized U.S. citizens. This is higher than the percentage of foreign-born married mothers who are naturalized U.S. citizens (59%). Among those who are not U.S. citizens, about 54% are authorized immigrants, and 46% are unauthorized immigrants. Authorized immigrants are those who have a valid visa or green card that allows them to live and work in the United States legally. Unauthorized immigrants are those who do not have a valid visa or green card, or who have overstayed their visa expiration date.
  • Language Spoken at Home: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 32% of single mothers in Illinois speak a language other than English at home. This is higher than the percentage of married mothers who speak a language other than English at home (23%). The most common languages spoken by single mothers at home are Spanish (24%), Polish (2%), Chinese (1%), Arabic (1%), and Tagalog (1%). Among those who speak a language other than English at home, about 34% speak English less than very well. This means that they may have difficulty communicating in English, especially in formal or professional settings.

Occupied Housing Units

Occupied housing units refer to the number and type of dwellings that are occupied by single mothers and their children. Occupied housing units can indicate the housing availability, quality, and diversity for single mothers and their children. Here are some of the key statistics:

  • Number of Occupied Housing Units: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are about 4.8 million occupied housing units in Illinois as of 2020. This represents about 88% of the total housing units in the state. Out of these, about 1 million (21%) are occupied by single-mother families. This means that about one in five occupied housing units in Illinois are occupied by single-mother families.
  • Type of Occupied Housing Units: According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the most common type of occupied housing unit in Illinois is a single-family detached house (60%). This is followed by a multi-unit structure with two or more units (30%), a mobile home or trailer (4%), and a boat, RV, van, etc. (0.2%). The type of occupied housing unit varies by family type. Among single-mother families, the most common type of occupied housing unit is a multi-unit structure with two or more units (47%). This is followed by a single-family detached house (42%), a mobile home or trailer (8%), and a boat, RV, van, etc. (0.3%).

 

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