Although the Affordable Care Act will give more low-income single mothers access to health insurance, nearly half of these families reside in states that have declined to expand their Medicaid programs.
Among the 23 states not currently expanding Medicaid, the average eligibility threshold remains very low at 49% or about $7700 for a single mother with a child.
A third of all unintended pregnancies are to unmarried women in their 20s — about 60% ended in birth; 26% ended in abortion; and the rest ended in miscarriage.
Black and Hispanic women have the highest teen pregnancy rates — 100 and 84 per 1,000 women aged 15–19, respectively; whites have the lowest rate with 38 pregnancies per 1,000.
In 2013, 15% of the 1.6 million children born out of wedlock in the U.S. were to teenagers under age 20, 37% were to women ages 20 through 24.
Black women are more likely to have children outside of marriage than other racial or ethnic groups. In that year, about 72% of births to black women were non-marital births.
Children born to young unmarried mothers are most likely to grow up in a single-parent household. More than two thirds end up on welfare.
ACCESS TO CHILD CARE
Nationally the annual cost of center-based infant care averaged over 40% of the state median income for a single mother. About 32% for a school-age child.
In Oregon, Massachusetts and New York, a single mother of an infant ages 0-3 would have to pay more than half of her income for day care at a center.
Child care subsidy, if eligible, is hard to come by. In 2013, 19 states had wait lists or had frozen their intake for child care assistance, with wait times ranging from 90 days to two years.
ACCESS TO EDUCATION
Single mothers often spend over half of their income on housing expenses and a third on child care,leaving them with less money for educational expenses.
Without financial aid, single mother students — a total of about 2 million — have little or no means to contribute financially to their educational expenses.
Nearly two thirds (61.2%) receive an “automatic zero” expected family contribution (EFC) on their financial aid award, compared to 29.6% of postsecondary students without children.
COMPARED TO SINGLE MOTHERS IN PEER COUNTRIES
The majority of single mothers in the United States are separated, divorced or widowed; and they work more hours and yet have higher poverty rates than single mothers in other high-income countries.
This is due to the fact that many employed single mothers are earning poverty wages. About 40% of U.S. single parents were employed in low-wage jobs — exceptionally high compared to single parents in peer countries.
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