Number of U.S. children living in a single parent family 1970-2019

In 2019, there were about 15.76 million children living with a single mother in the United States, and about 3.23 million children living with a single father. The number of children living with a single mother is down from its peak in 2012, and the number of children living with a single father is down from its peak in 2005.

Marriage and divorce in the United States

Despite popular opinion in the United States that “half of all marriages end in divorce,” the divorce rate in the U.S. has fallen significantly since 1992. The marriage rate, which has also been decreasing since the 1990s, was still higher than the divorce rate in 2018. Half of all marriages may not end in divorce, but it does seem that fewer people are choosing to get married in the first place.

New family structures

In addition to a falling marriage rate, fewer people in 2019 have children under the age of 18 living in the house than there were in 1970. Over the past decade, the share of families with children under 18, whether that be married couples or single parents, has stayed mostly steady, although the number of births in the U.S. has also fallen.

Number of children living with a single mother or a single father in the U.S. from 1970 to 2019

YearMother onlyFather only
201915,7643,234
201816,3953,251
201716,7673,206
201617,2233,006
201517,0062,751
201417,4102,848
201317,5322,999
201217,9912,924
201017,2832,572
200517,2253,497
200016,1623,058
199516,4772,461
199013,8741,993
198513,0811,554
198011,4061,060
197510,2311,014
19707,452748
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Source

Release date

November 2019

Region

United States

Survey time period

1970 to 2019

Special properties

children under 18 years only

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Statistics on "Kids in the U.S."

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