Opinion & Debate

Published on November 28th, 2013 | by Kelly Rose Bradford


Uneducated women more likely to become single mums

Is your education – or lack of it – responsible for you being a single parent, or being divorced?

According to researchers in the US, yes – the Census Bureau claims there is ‘strong linkage between educational attainment and the marital status and living arrangements of parents of minor children’.

Following up these findings, the Pew Research Centre reports that ‘since divorce and non-marital births are more prevalent among the less educated, that means single parents—particularly single moms—are more prevalent, as well’.

‘Approximately 30% of moms with less than a college degree who live with their kids are living without a spouse or partner, as compared with 7% of comparable dads. In comparison, 13% of college-educated moms who live with their kids are living without a spouse or partner, as are 3% of comparable dads’. 

The report is a bit figure-heavy (and obv we’re not educated enough to really crunch the numbers) and also has graphs (we were off school the day they covered those) but continues:

‘Not only is there an educational gap in the likelihood of parents living with their minor children being married, but there is a gender gap as well.

‘Just over half (53%) of mothers who lack a high school degree and who live with their children are married, as compared with 78% of dads with the same educational level. These gender differences narrow considerably—but still persist–among the most educated. Some 84% of moms who have a bachelor’s degree and live with their children are married, compared with 95% of dads with a bachelor’s degree.

‘These gender gaps are largely driven by differences in the patterns of single parenting. While the share of single parents who are dads has risen dramatically, it’s still the case that most single parents are moms.’

Hmm. We’re not that into reports that perpetuate stereotypes and myths about single parents (did you read THIS story earlier in the week? Or THIS one from a few weeks ago?) or those that suggest only non-educated women get divorced or have children outside marriage.  Are studies like this really helpful to anyone?  What do you think?

More on parenting solo:single mum told to keep quiet about her degree    single mum of four gets first class honours degree




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About the Author

Kelly Rose Bradford

is a London-based journalist and broadcaster, writing for the Daily Mail, the Daily Express, the Sunday Telegraph, and a host of women's magazines. Her robust opinions and feisty debating skills make her in demand as a social commentator, regularly guesting on ITV's This Morning programme, and across many radio stations, including 5 Live and BBC Radio London.

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