Single Mother Statistics in Wisconsin

Last Updated on November 5, 2023 by Meghan

Introduction

Wisconsin is a state in the Midwest region of the United States, with a population of about 5.9 million people as of 2020. It is known for its dairy industry, natural resources, and political diversity. Wisconsin 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 176,000 single mother families with children under 18 years old in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin, based on the latest census data and other sources.


Demographics

  • The average age of single mothers in Wisconsin was 37.8 years old in 2020, slightly lower than the national average of 37.9 years old.
  • The majority of single mothers in Wisconsin (69%) had one or two children living with them, while 17% had three children and 14% had four or more children.
  • The median number of children per single mother family in Wisconsin was 1.8, the same as the national median.

Age Groups

  • The largest age group of single mothers in Wisconsin was 35 to 44 years old, accounting for 33% of all single mothers in the state.
  • The second largest age group was 25 to 34 years old, representing 29% of all single mothers in Wisconsin.
  • The smallest age group was under 25 years old, comprising only 8% of all single mothers in the state.

Race

  • The racial composition of single mothers in Wisconsin was less diverse than the national average for single mothers.
  • The largest racial group of single mothers in Wisconsin was white, making up 72% of all single mothers in the state.
  • The second largest racial group was black or African American, constituting 16% of all single mothers in Wisconsin.
  • The third largest racial group was Hispanic or Latino, comprising 7% of all single mothers in the state.
  • The remaining racial groups were Asian (2%), American Indian or Alaska Native (1%), Native Hawaiian or Pacific Islander (0.1%), and two or more races (3%)2.

Marital Status

  • The marital status of single mothers in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin also differed, depending on whether they lived alone or with other relatives or nonrelatives.
  • Among single mothers who lived alone with their children, 65% had no other adults living with them and 35% 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 Wisconsin was measured by their voting behavior and volunteerism.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Voting and Registration Supplement, 66% of single mothers in Wisconsin reported that they voted in the 2020 presidential election, compared to 72% of all adults in the state.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Volunteer Supplement, 22% of single mothers in Wisconsin reported that they volunteered for an organization in the past year, compared to 28% of all adults in the state.

Education

  • The educational attainment of single mothers in Wisconsin was lower than the national average for single mothers.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 24% of single mothers in Wisconsin had a bachelor’s degree or higher, compared to 24% of all single mothers in the U.S.
  • Conversely, only 10% of single mothers in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin who had a bachelor’s degree or higher were business (21%), health (18%), and education (15%).

Employment

  • The employment status of single mothers in Wisconsin was similar to the national average for single mothers.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, 66% of single mothers in Wisconsin were employed in 2020, compared to 66% of all single mothers in the U.S.
  • Among single mothers who were employed, 78% worked full-time and 22% worked part-time.
  • The most common occupations for single mothers in Wisconsin who were employed were office and administrative support (17%), management (14%), and education and training (12%).

Income

  • The income level of single mothers in Wisconsin was lower 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 Wisconsin was $35,000 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 smaller in Wisconsin than in the U.S. as a whole. The median annual income of married-couple families in Wisconsin was $87,000 in 2019, about 2.5 times as much as that of single mother families.

Poverty

  • The poverty rate of single mothers in Wisconsin was lower than the national average for single mothers.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 26% of single mother families in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin, which was only 4% 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 Wisconsin was mixed, depending on their sources of income and expenses.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, 28% of single mothers in Wisconsin 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, 44% of single mothers in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin was $46,000 in 2019, with the largest categories being housing (33%), transportation (16%), and food (13%).

Housing

  • The housing situation of single mothers in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin was $1,100 in 2019, compared to $1,000 for all single mother households in the U.S.
  • However, only 36% of single mother households in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin were detached single-family homes (43%), apartments (34%), and townhouses (14%).

Veteran Status

  • The veteran status of single mothers in Wisconsin was lower than the national average for single mothers.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 3% of single mothers in Wisconsin 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, 59% served during Gulf War era II (September 2001 or later), 23% 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 Wisconsin was lower than the national average for single mothers.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 11% of single mothers in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin was less diverse than the national average for single mothers.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 86% of single mothers in Wisconsin were born in the U.S., while 14% were foreign born.
  • Among foreign-born single mothers in Wisconsin, 38% were from Asia, 28% were from Latin America, 18% were from Europe, 12% were from Africa, and 4% were from other regions.
  • Among foreign-born single mothers in Wisconsin, 47% were naturalized U.S. citizens and 53% were not U.S. citizens.

Language Spoken at Home

  • The language spoken at home by single mothers in Wisconsin was less diverse than the national average for single mothers.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 83% of single mothers in Wisconsin spoke only English at home, while 17% spoke a language other than English at home.
  • Among single mothers who spoke a language other than English at home, 50% spoke Spanish, 24% spoke Asian or Pacific Island languages, 10% spoke Indo-European languages, and 16% spoke other languages.
  • Among single mothers who spoke a language other than English at home, 40% reported that they spoke English very well, 32% reported that they spoke English well, 20% reported that they spoke English not well, and 8% reported that they spoke English not at all.

Occupied Housing Units

  • The occupied housing units of single mothers in Wisconsin were classified by their tenure and mortgage status.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 36% of single mother households in Wisconsin owned their home with a mortgage or loan, 18% 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 $1,300, 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 $900, which included contract rent plus the estimated average monthly cost of utilities and fuels.

Food

  • The food situation of single mothers in Wisconsin was measured by their food security and food assistance.
  • According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Household Food Security Survey Module, 13% of single mother households in Wisconsin 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, 5% 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, 28% of single mother households in Wisconsin received SNAP benefits (formerly known as food stamps) in 2020.

Transportation

  • The transportation situation of single mothers in Wisconsin was characterized by their mode of transportation and travel time to work.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey, 81% of single mothers in Wisconsin who worked outside the home drove alone to work, 9% 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 22 minutes.
  • Among single mothers who used public transportation to work, the median travel time to work was 40 minutes.

Childcare

  • The childcare situation of single mothers in Wisconsin was determined by their childcare arrangements and costs.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Survey of Income and Program Participation (SIPP), 60% of single mothers in Wisconsin 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 (31%), relative care (30%), nonrelative care (24%), and self-care (15%) .
  • Among single mothers who used childcare, the average weekly cost of childcare was $140 per child .

Social Security

  • The social security situation of single mothers in Wisconsin was indicated by their receipt of social security income and benefits.
  • According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey (CPS), 7% of single mother households in Wisconsin received social security income in 2020 .
  • The median annual amount of social security income received by single mother households in Wisconsin was $11,000 .
  • According to the Social Security Administration (SSA), the most common types of social security benefits received by single mothers in Wisconsin were retirement benefits (40%), disability benefits (34%), survivor benefits (23%), and supplemental security income (SSI) benefits (3%).

Healthcare

  • The healthcare situation of single mothers in Wisconsin 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), 7% of single mothers in Wisconsin were uninsured in 2019, compared to 11% for all single mothers in the U.S. .
  • Among single mothers who were insured, 50% had private health insurance, 42% had public health insurance, and 8% had both private and public health insurance .
  • According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), 16% of single mothers in Wisconsin 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), 73% of single mothers in Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin 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 Wisconsin was $44,000 in 2019, which was the same as 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 Wisconsin were housing (33%), transportation (16%), and food (13%) .
  • According to the Federal Reserve Bank of New York (FRBNY), the average debt of single mother households in Wisconsin was $49,000 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 Wisconsin were mortgage debt (43%), student loan debt (21%), and auto loan debt (15%) .

Conclusion

  • Single mothers in Wisconsin are a diverse and resilient group of women who face various challenges and opportunities in their lives.
  • They have lower levels of education, income, and civic engagement than the national average for single mothers, but they also have lower costs of living, smaller income gaps with married-couple families, and higher levels of volunteerism.
  • 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 homeownership without a mortgage or loan, and no usual source of health care.
  • They have similar levels of health care utilization than the national average for single mothers, but they also have similar 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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