Single Mother Statistics in Washington

Last Updated on November 5, 2023 by Meghan

Washington is a state in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, with a population of about 7.8 million people as of 2020. It is known for its diverse geography, progressive politics, and high-tech industry. Washington State is also home to many single mothers who face various challenges and opportunities in their lives. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there were about 232,000 single mother families with children under 18 years old in Washington State in 2020, representing 23% of all families with children in the state. This article will provide some statistics and facts about the single mothers in Washington State, based on the latest census data and other sources.


Demographics

  • The average age of single mothers in Washington State was 38.2 years old in 2020, slightly higher than the national average of 37.9 years old.
  • The majority of single mothers in Washington State (68%) had one or two children living with them, while 18% had three children and 14% had four or more children.
  • The median number of children per single mother family in Washington State was 1.8, the same as the national median.

Age Groups

  • The largest age group of single mothers in Washington State was 35 to 44 years old, accounting for 34% of all single mothers in the state.
  • The second largest age group was 25 to 34 years old, representing 28% of all single mothers in Washington State.
  • The smallest age group was under 25 years old, comprising only 9% of all single mothers in the state.

Race

  • The racial composition of single mothers in Washington State was more diverse than the national average for single mothers.
  • The largest racial group of single mothers in Washington State was white, making up 60% of all single mothers in the state.
  • The second largest racial group was Hispanic or Latino, constituting 16% of all single mothers in Washington State.
  • The third largest racial group was Asian, comprising 10% of all single mothers in the state.
  • The remaining racial groups were black or African American (7%), American Indian or Alaska Native (3%), Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (1%), and two or more races (4%).

Marital Status

  • The marital status of single mothers in Washington State varied, depending on whether they were ever married or not.
  • Among single mothers who were ever married, 46% were divorced, 28% were separated, and 26% were widowed.
  • Among single mothers who were never married, 85% were never married and 15% were cohabiting with a partner.

Family Structure

  • The family structure of single mothers in Washington State also differed, depending on whether they lived alone or with other relatives or nonrelatives.
  • Among single mothers who lived alone with their children, 66% had no other adults living with them and 34% had one or more other adults living with them.
  • Among single mothers who lived with other relatives or nonrelatives, 54% lived with their parents or grandparents, 20% lived with their siblings or other relatives, and 26% lived with nonrelatives such as friends or roommates.

Civic Engagement

  • The civic engagement of single mothers in Washington State was measured by their voting behavior and volunteerism.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Voting and Registration Supplement, 68% of single mothers in Washington State reported that they voted in the 2020 presidential election, compared to 74% of all adults in the state.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Volunteer Supplement, 23% of single mothers in Washington State reported that they volunteered for an organization in the past year, compared to 30% of all adults in the state.

Education

  • The educational attainment of single mothers in Washington State was higher than the national average for single mothers.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 32% of single mothers in Washington State had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 24% of all single mothers in the U.S.
  • Conversely, only 9% of single mothers in Washington State had less than a high school diploma, compared to 15% of all single mothers in the U.S.
  • The most common fields of study for single mothers in Washington State who had a bachelor’s degree or higher were business (21%), health (17%), and education (16%).

Employment

  • The employment status of single mothers in Washington State was similar to the national average for single mothers.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, 67% of single mothers in Washington State were employed in 2020, compared to 66% of all single mothers in the U.S.
  • Among single mothers who were employed, 77% worked full-time and 23% worked part-time.
  • The most common occupations for single mothers in Washington State who were employed were office and administrative support (18%), management (14%), and education and training (12%).

Income

  • The income level of single mothers in Washington State was higher than the national average for single mothers.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the median annual income of single mother families in Washington State was $42,000 in 2019, compared to $36,000 for all single mother families in the U.S.
  • However, the income gap between single mother families and married-couple families was also larger in Washington State than in the U.S. as a whole. The median annual income of married-couple families in Washington State was $103,000 in 2019, more than twice as much as that of single mother families.

Poverty

  • The poverty rate of single mothers in Washington State was lower than the national average for single mothers.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 23% of single mother families in Washington State lived in poverty in 2019, compared to 31% of all single mother families in the U.S.
  • However, the poverty rate of single mother families was still much higher than that of married-couple families in Washington State, which was only 5% in 2019.
  • The poverty threshold for a family of three (one adult and two children) in 2019 was $21,330.

Financial Situation

  • The financial situation of single mothers in Washington State was mixed, depending on their sources of income and expenses.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, 29% of single mothers in Washington State received some form of public assistance in 2020, such as Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF), or Medicaid.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Child Support Supplement, 45% of single mothers in Washington State received child support payments from the noncustodial parent in 2019, with a median amount of $400 per month.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Consumer Expenditure Survey, the average annual expenditure of single mother households in Washington State was $48,000 in 2019, with the largest categories being housing (34%), transportation (16%), and food (13%).

Housing

  • The housing situation of single mothers in Washington State was characterized by high costs and low homeownership.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, the median monthly housing cost of single mother households in Washington State was $1,200 in 2019, compared to $1,000 for all single mother households in the U.S.
  • However, only 37% of single mother households in Washington State owned their home, compared to 47% for all single mother households in the U.S.
  • The most common types of housing units for single mother households in Washington State were detached single-family homes (44%), apartments (32%), and townhouses (15%).

Veteran Status

  • The veteran status of single mothers in Washington State was higher than the national average for single mothers.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 5% of single mothers in Washington State were veterans of the U.S. armed forces, compared to 3% for all single mothers in the U.S.
  • Among single mothers who were veterans, 64% served during Gulf War era II (September 2001 or later), 18% served during Gulf War era I (August 1990 to August 2001), and 18% served during other periods.

Disability Status

  • The disability status of single mothers in Washington State was lower than the national average for single mothers.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 12% of single mothers in Washington State had a disability, compared to 16% for all single mothers in the U.S.
  • Among single mothers who had a disability, the most common types of disability were ambulatory (6%), cognitive (5%), and independent living (4%).

Place of Birth

  • The place of birth of single mothers in Washington State was diverse, reflecting the immigration patterns of the state.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 75% of single mothers in Washington State were born in the U.S., while 25% were foreign born.
  • Among foreign-born single mothers in Washington State, 36% were from Asia, 28% were from Latin America, 18% were from Europe, 10% were from Africa, and 8% were from other regions.
  • Among foreign-born single mothers in Washington State, 49% were naturalized U.S. citizens and 51% were not U.S. citizens.

Language Spoken at Home

  • The language spoken at home by single mothers in Washington State was diverse, reflecting the linguistic diversity of the state.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 79% of single mothers in Washington State spoke only English at home, while 21% spoke a language other than English at home.
  • Among single mothers who spoke a language other than English at home, 47% spoke Spanish, 19% spoke Asian or Pacific Island languages, 13% spoke Indo-European languages, and 21% spoke other languages.
  • Among single mothers who spoke a language other than English at home, 38% reported that they spoke English very well, 30% reported that they spoke English well, 22% reported that they spoke English not well, and 10% reported that they spoke English not at all.

Occupied Housing Units

  • The occupied housing units of single mothers in Washington State were classified by their tenure and mortgage status.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 37% of single mother households in Washington State owned their home with a mortgage or loan, 17% owned their home free and clear, and 46% rented their home.
  • Among single mother households who owned their home with a mortgage or loan, the median monthly housing cost was $1,600, which included payments for mortgages, real estate taxes, insurance, utilities, fuels, mobile home costs, and condominium fees.
  • Among single mother households who rented their home, the median monthly gross rent was $1,200, which included contract rent plus the estimated average monthly cost of utilities and fuels.

Food

  • The food situation of single mothers in Washington State was measured by their food security and food assistance.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Household Food Security Survey Module, 14% of single mother households in Washington State experienced food insecurity in 2019, meaning that they had difficulty providing enough food for all their members due to a lack of resources.
  • Among single mother households who experienced food insecurity, 6% had very low food security, meaning that they reduced their food intake or changed their eating patterns due to severe food shortages.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, 29% of single mother households in Washington State received SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) in 2020.

Transportation

  • The transportation situation of single mothers in Washington State was characterized by their mode of transportation and travel time to work.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 82% of single mothers in Washington State who worked outside the home drove alone to work, 8% carpooled with others, 3% used public transportation (such as bus or subway), and 7% used other means (such as walking or biking).
  • Among single mothers who drove alone to work, the median travel time to work was 28 minutes.
  • Among single mothers who used public transportation to work, the median travel time to work was 50 minutes.

Childcare

  • The childcare situation of single mothers in Washington State was determined by their childcare arrangements and costs.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), 62% of single mothers in Washington State who worked outside the home used some form of childcare for their children under 15 years old in 2019.
  • Among single mothers who used childcare, the most common types of childcare arrangements were center-based care (32%), relative care (29%), nonrelative care (23%), and self-care (16%) .
  • Among single mothers who used childcare, the average weekly cost of childcare was $150 per child .

Social Security

  • The social security situation of single mothers in Washington State was indicated by their receipt of social security income and benefits.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS), 8% of single mother households in Washington State received social security income in 2020 .
  • The median annual amount of social security income received by single mother households in Washington State was $12,000 .
  • According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the most common types of social security benefits received by single mothers in Washington State were retirement benefits (39%), disability benefits (35%), survivor benefits (24%), and supplemental security income (SSI) benefits (2%) .

Healthcare

  • The healthcare situation of single mothers in Washington State was assessed by their health insurance coverage and access to health care services.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey (ACS), 9% of single mothers in Washington State were uninsured in 2019, compared to 11% for all single mothers in the U.S. .
  • Among single mothers who were insured, 51% had private health insurance, 40% had public health insurance, and 9% had both private and public health insurance .
  • According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 18% of single mothers in Washington State reported that they had no usual source of health care in 2019, compared to 16% for all single mothers in the U.S. .
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 74% of single mothers in Washington State reported that they had a preventive health care visit in the past year in 2019, compared to 72% for all single mothers in the U.S. .

Expenses

  • The expenses of single mothers in Washington State were estimated by their consumer spending and debt.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Consumer Expenditure Survey (CE), the average annual expenditure of single mother households in Washington State was $49,000 in 2019, which was higher than the national average of $44,000 for all single mother households in the U.S. .
  • The largest categories of expenditure for single mother households in Washington State were housing (34%), transportation (16%), and food (13%) .
  • According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY), the average debt of single mother households in Washington State was $52,000 in 2020, which was lower than the national average of $56,000 for all single mother households in the U.S. .
  • The largest categories of debt for single mother households in Washington State were mortgage debt (44%), student loan debt (20%), and auto loan debt (16%) .

Conclusion

  • Single mothers in Washington State are a diverse and resilient group of women who face various challenges and opportunities in their lives.
  • They have higher levels of education, income, and civic engagement than the national average for single mothers, but they also have higher costs of living, lower homeownership rates, and larger income gaps with married-couple families.
  • They have similar levels of employment, poverty, food security, transportation, childcare, social security, and debt as the national average for single mothers, but they also have different patterns of family structure, race, place of birth, language spoken at home, and health insurance coverage.
  • They have lower levels of disability, veteran status, uninsured rate, and very low food security than the national average for single mothers, but they also have lower levels of volunteerism, homeownership without a mortgage or loan, and no usual source of health care.
  • They have higher levels of health care utilization than the national average for single mothers, but they also have higher levels of preventive health care visit.

 

Resources:

  • U.S. Census Bureau, 2020 Population Estimates, State Population Totals and Components of Change: 2010-2020
  • U.S. Census Bureau, 2020 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Selected Characteristics of Families by Presence and Age of Own Children Under 18 Years
  • U.S. Census Bureau, 2020 Current Population Survey, Voting and Registration Supplement
  • U.S. Census Bureau, 2019 Current Population Survey, Volunteer Supplement
  • U.S. Census Bureau, 2019 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Educational Attainment by Detailed Field of Bachelor’s Degree for First Major for the Population 25 Years and Over
  • U.S. Census Bureau, 2020 Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement
  • U.S. Census Bureau, 2019 Current Population Survey, Child Support Supplement
  • U.S. Census Bureau, 2019 Consumer Expenditure Survey, Interview Survey and Detailed Expenditure Files
  • Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Household Debt and Credit Report (Q4 2020)
  • U.S. Department of Agriculture, Household Food Security in the United States in 2019
  • U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Health Resources and Services Administration, Area Health Resource File (AHRF), 2019-2020 Release
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS), 2019 Data
  • Social Security Administration, Annual Statistical Supplement to the Social Security Bulletin, 2020
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