Inequalities in poverty and income between single mothers and fathers

Yuan Chiao Lu, Regine Walker, Patrick Richard, Mustafa Younis*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Background: The American family structure has changed in the past few decades due to a rise in the divorce rate and unmarried women with children. Research suggests a salary disparity between men and women, especially for those women after pregnancy. However, these studies were confined to individuals within traditional families, and there is a lack of information of income disparity and poverty status between single mothers and fathers. The current study explored the disparities in single-parent families based on the household income and the poverty status using a set of nationwide censor data. Methods: The current study used data from the 2011 and 2013 Panel Study of Income Dynamics (N = 1135). Multivariate regression models were used in the analysis. Results: The demographic characteristics of the weighted population showed that taxable income, total income, and poverty status were higher for single fathers than mothers, while non-work income was higher for single mothers than fathers. Single mothers were much more likely to be at the crisis category than single fathers. Multivariate analyses showed that gender, age, marital status, years of experience, and geographic region had effects on taxable income, and only gender, marital status, and region had effects on poverty status. Conclusions: The results suggest that vulnerable group of single mothers was acknowledged according to income and poverty status. Age, marital status, years of experience, and region would be the critical factors for predicting the income and poverty status for single parenthood.

Original languageEnglish
Article number135
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020
Externally publishedYes


  • Income
  • Panel Study of Income Dynamics
  • Poverty
  • Single parent


Dive into the research topics of 'Inequalities in poverty and income between single mothers and fathers'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this