Single Mother Statistics in South Carolina

Last Updated on November 5, 2023 by Meghan

Introduction

South Carolina is a state in the southeastern region of the United States, bordered by North Carolina, Georgia, the Atlantic Ocean, and Tennessee. It has a population of about 5.3 million people, of which 51.3% are female. South Carolina is one of the states with the highest percentage of households led by a single mother with children under age 18 living in the household, at 5.13% in 2021. This article will explore the characteristics and challenges of single mother households in South Carolina, using data from the U.S. Census Bureau and other sources.


Demographics

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were 10.9 million one-parent family groups with a child under the age of 18 in the United States in 2022, of which 80% were maintained by a mother. In South Carolina, there were about 280,000 one-parent family groups with a child under the age of 18 in 2022, of which 85% were maintained by a mother. This means that there were about 238,000 single mother households in South Carolina in 2022, accounting for about 12% of all households in the state.

Age Groups

The median age of single mothers in South Carolina was 37.4 years in 2022, slightly lower than the median age of all females in the state (38.8 years). The majority of single mothers in South Carolina were in the age group of 25 to 44 years (58%), followed by the age group of 45 to 64 years (28%), and the age group of 15 to 24 years (9%). The remaining 5% of single mothers were aged 65 years and over.

Race

The racial composition of single mothers in South Carolina was diverse, reflecting the diversity of the state’s population. In 2022, about 54% of single mothers in South Carolina were white, 40% were black or African American, 3% were Hispanic or Latino, 2% were two or more races, and 1% were Asian1. The percentages of American Indian and Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander single mothers were negligible.

Education

The educational attainment of single mothers in South Carolina was lower than that of all females in the state. In 2022, about 83% of single mothers aged 25 years and over had at least a high school diploma or equivalent, compared to 89% of all females aged 25 years and over. About 20% of single mothers aged 25 years and over had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 30% of all females aged 25 years and over.

Employment

The employment status of single mothers in South Carolina was also lower than that of all females in the state. In 2022, about 60% of single mothers aged 16 years and over were in the civilian labor force, compared to 66% of all females aged 16 years and over. About 53% of single mothers aged 16 years and over were employed, compared to 60% of all females aged 16 years and over. The unemployment rate for single mothers aged 16 years and over was 11%, higher than that for all females aged 16 years and over (9%).

Income

The income level of single mothers in South Carolina was significantly lower than that of all households in the state. In 2022, the median household income for single mother households was $29,800, compared to $56,600 for all households1. The mean household income for single mother households was $38,900, compared to $77,400 for all households.

Poverty

The poverty rate for single mother households in South Carolina was extremely high, compared to that for all households in the state. In 2022, about 32% of single mother households were below the poverty level, compared to 13% of all households. The poverty threshold for a family of three with one child under 18 years was $21,960 in 2022.

Financial Situation

The financial situation of single mother households in South Carolina was precarious, as they faced many expenses and challenges. In 2022, about 49% of single mother households received food stamps/SNAP benefits, compared to 14% of all households1. About 23% of single mother households received cash public assistance income, compared to 3% of all households. About 28% of single mother households received Supplemental Security Income (SSI), compared to 7% of all households1. About 36% of single mother households had no health insurance coverage, compared to 11% of all households.

Housing

The housing situation of single mother households in South Carolina was also challenging, as they faced high housing costs and low homeownership rates. In 2022, the median monthly housing costs for single mother households who owned their homes with a mortgage was $1,140, compared to $1,280 for all households who owned their homes with a mortgage1. The median monthly housing costs for single mother households who rented their homes was $850, compared to $920 for all households who rented their homes. The homeownership rate for single mother households was 48%, compared to 70% for all households.

Veteran Status

The veteran status of single mothers in South Carolina was relatively low, compared to that of all females in the state. In 2022, about 2% of single mothers aged 18 years and over were veterans, compared to 4% of all females aged 18 years and over.

Disability Status

The disability status of single mothers in South Carolina was relatively high, compared to that of all females in the state. In 2022, about 14% of single mothers aged under 65 years had a disability, compared to 10% of all females aged under 65 years.

Place of Birth

The place of birth of single mothers in South Carolina was mostly within the United States, compared to that of all females in the state. In 2022, about 94% of single mothers were born in the United States, compared to 95% of all females. About 4% of single mothers were foreign born, compared to 5% of all females.

Language Spoken at Home

The language spoken at home by single mothers in South Carolina was mostly English, compared to that of all females in the state. In 2022, about 96% of single mothers aged 5 years and over spoke only English at home, compared to 93% of all females aged 5 years and over1. About 4% of single mothers aged 5 years and over spoke a language other than English at home, compared to 7% of all females aged 5 years and over.

Occupied Housing Units

The occupied housing units of single mother households in South Carolina were mostly detached single-family homes, compared to that of all households in the state. In 2022, about 66% of occupied housing units of single mother households were detached single-family homes, compared to 72% of occupied housing units of all households1. About 17% of occupied housing units of single mother households were apartments or other units in structures with 5 or more units, compared to 12% of occupied housing units of all households. The remaining 17% of occupied housing units of single mother households were other types of housing units, such as mobile homes, townhouses, duplexes, etc.

Food

The food situation of single mother households in South Carolina was often insecure, as they faced food insufficiency and low access to healthy food options. According to the Household Pulse Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, about 15% of single mother households in South Carolina sometimes or often did not have enough food to eat in the last 7 days, compared to 8% of all households in the state, as of October 2023. According to the Food Environment Atlas developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, about 19% of single mother households in South Carolina lived in low-income and low-access areas, where at least 500 people and/or at least 33 percent of the population live more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store (urban areas) or more than 10 miles from a supermarket or large grocery store (rural areas), as of 2019.

Transportation

The transportation situation of single mother households in South Carolina was also difficult, as they faced high transportation costs and low access to public transportation. According to the American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau, about 84% of single mother households in South Carolina had one or more vehicles available, compared to 93% of all households in the state, as of 2022. The mean travel time to work for single mothers who worked outside the home was 25 minutes, compared to 24 minutes for all workers in the state. About 3% of single mothers who worked outside the home used public transportation, compared to 1% of all workers in the state. However, public transportation options were limited and unreliable in many areas of the state, especially in rural counties.

Childcare

The childcare situation of single mother households in South Carolina was also challenging, as they faced high childcare costs and low availability of quality childcare services. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the average annual cost of infant care in South Carolina was $8,589 in 2020, which was 29% of the median income for single mother households in the state. The average annual cost of childcare for a 4-year-old was $6,696, which was 23% of the median income for single mother households. The average annual cost of childcare for a school-age child was $5,544, which was 19% of the median income for single mother households. According to Child Care Aware of America, there were only enough licensed childcare slots for 40% of children under age 6 with working parents in South Carolina in 2019. Moreover, the quality and safety of childcare providers varied widely across the state, and many low-income families did not have access to subsidized childcare programs.

Social Security

The social security situation of single mother households in South Carolina was also precarious, as they faced low social security benefits and high dependency on social security income. According to the Social Security Administration, the average monthly benefit for retired workers in South Carolina was $1,551 in December 2020. The average monthly benefit for disabled workers was $1,269. The average monthly benefit for widows or widowers was $1,392. The average monthly benefit for children was $623. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 28% of single mother households received Supplemental Security Income (SSI) in 2022, compared to 7% of all households in the state. SSI is a federal program that provides cash assistance to people who are aged, blind, or disabled and have limited income and resources. The maximum monthly SSI payment for an individual was $794 in 2021.

Healthcare

The healthcare situation of single mother households in South Carolina was also dire, as they faced high healthcare costs and low access to quality healthcare services. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, about 36% of single mother households had no health insurance coverage in 2022, compared to 11% of all households in the state. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the average annual premium for employer-sponsored health insurance for a single person in South Carolina was $6,972 in 2020. The average annual premium for employer-sponsored health insurance for a family was $20,196. The average annual deductible for employer-sponsored health insurance for a single person was $1,869. The average annual deductible for employer-sponsored health insurance for a family was $3,655. According to the Commonwealth Fund, South Carolina ranked 43rd out of 51 states and the District of Columbia in terms of overall health system performance in 2020. The state performed poorly on measures such as access and affordability, prevention and treatment.

Expenses

The expenses of single mother households in South Carolina were also high, as they faced various costs related to housing, food, transportation, childcare, healthcare, education, and other necessities. According to the Economic Policy Institute, the basic family budget for a single mother with one child in South Carolina was $4,108 per month or $49,296 per year in 2020. This budget reflects the minimum amount necessary to cover basic needs such as housing, food, child care, transportation, health care, taxes, and other essentials. However, this budget does not include savings, debt payments, retirement contributions, or any other discretionary spending. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the median household income for single mother households in South Carolina was $29,800 in 2022, which was far below the basic family budget. This means that many single mother households in South Carolina struggled to make ends meet and had little or no financial security.

Conclusion

The statistics presented in this article show that single mother households in South Carolina faced multiple challenges and disadvantages compared to other households in the state and the nation. Single mother households had lower levels of education, employment, income, and homeownership; higher levels of poverty, food insecurity, health uninsuredness, and disability; and higher costs of living and lower access to quality services. These factors negatively affected the well-being and opportunities of single mothers and their children. Therefore, more policies and programs are needed to support and empower single mother households in South Carolina and help them overcome their barriers and achieve their potential.

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