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Juvenile Population Characteristics
Living Arrangements
Q: How has the proportion of children living in single-parent homes changed since 1970?
A: The proportion of children living in single-parent homes more than doubled between 1970 and 2013 from 12% to 28%.
Living arrangements of children, 1970-2013

Children living with one parent

Note: * Includes children living with other relatives and those living with non-relatives.
**The Current Population Survey methodology changed to more accurately reflect children’s coresidence with their parents. This change is reflected in the estimates beginning in 2007, where two parent homes include all homes in which a child lives with both parents, married or unmarried (biological, step or adoptive). For more information please read: Improvements to data collection about families in CPS 2007.

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  • In 2013, 69% of children were living in two-parent families – a level that has held since the mid-1990s. Most other children lived in single-parent households.
  • While most children in single-parent families lived with their mothers in 2013, an increasing proportion were living with their fathers. Between 1970 and 2013, the proportion of children in single-parent homes living with their fathers grew from 1% to 4%.
  • A never-married parent is becoming more common in single-parent homes. Between 1970 and 2013, the proportion of children living with a never-married parent increased from 7% to 45%.

Internet citation: OJJDP Statistical Briefing Book. Online. Available: http://www.ojjdp.gov/ojstatbb/population/qa01201.asp?qaDate=2013. Released on August 01, 2014.

Data Source: U.S. Bureau of the Census. Current Population Survey - Families and Living Arrangements, Historical Tables. Table CH-1: "Living Arrangements of Children Under 18 Years Old: 1960 to Present." [Internet release date: November 2013]. Web-based data files available at: http://www.census.gov/hhes/families/data/cps.html.

 

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