15 Cities With the Most Single Parents

Father teaching son to ride bike
Jacob Lund / Shutterstock.com

This story originally appeared on Smartest Dollar.

According to a recent Pew Research Center report, children in the United States are more likely to live in a single-parent household than children in at least 129 other countries, including China, India and all of Europe.

Maintaining a household as a single parent presents a number of challenges, the largest of which for many single-parent families are financial. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ 2018 Consumer Expenditure Survey, single parents with minor children devote a larger share of their spending on necessary costs of living, like food and housing, than married parents do.

COVID-19 has only intensified the challenges faced by single parents. Those who have lost their jobs might struggle to cover living expenses, while those still employed must cope with a lack of child care options and schools being closed.

Researchers used data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 American Community Survey to determine the percentage of all households with children under 18 that are headed by a single parent. The total number of households with children under 18 that are headed by single moms and single dads was divided by the total number of households with children under 18.

In determining which cities have the most single parents, researchers made this calculation for all cities with at least 100,000 residents and sorted the results by those with the highest share of single-parent households.

Following are the large U.S. cities with the most single parents.

15. Albuquerque, New Mexico

Albuquerque, New Mexico
BrigitteT / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of families with a single parent: 43.8%
  • Total families with a single parent: 23,277
  • Percentage of families with a single mom: 30.9%
  • Percentage of families with a single dad: 12.9%

14. Fresno, California

Fresno, California
Tupungato / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of families with a single parent: 44.9%
  • Total families with a single parent: 25,835
  • Percentage of families with a single mom: 34.4%
  • Percentage of families with a single dad: 10.5%

13. Tucson, Arizona

Tucson, AZ
Sean-Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of families with a single parent: 45.4%
  • Total families with a single parent: 23,056
  • Percentage of families with a single mom: 32.9%
  • Percentage of families with a single dad: 12.5%

12. Atlanta

Atlanta, Georgia, Piedmont Park skyline autumn
Sean Pavone / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of families with a single parent: 46.1%
  • Total families with a single parent: 17,054
  • Percentage of families with a single mom: 39.8%
  • Percentage of families with a single dad: 6.3%

11. Boston

Boston in winter
Marcio Jose Bastos Silva / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of families with a single parent: 46.8%
  • Total families with a single parent: 24,266
  • Percentage of families with a single mom: 40.4%
  • Percentage of families with a single dad: 6.4%

10. Washington, D.C.

Washington, D.C.
orhan-cam / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of families with a single parent: 47.7%
  • Total families with a single parent: 24,096
  • Percentage of families with a single mom: 38.9%
  • Percentage of families with a single dad: 8.8%

9. Indianapolis

Indianapolis, Indiana cityscape
f11photo / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of families with a single parent: 48.9%
  • Total families with a single parent: 39,765
  • Percentage of families with a single mom: 38.3%
  • Percentage of families with a single dad: 10.7%

8. Columbus, Ohio

Columbus, Ohio
Randall Vermillion / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of families with a single parent: 49.4%
  • Total families with a single parent: 43,827
  • Percentage of families with a single mom: 38.3%
  • Percentage of families with a single dad: 11.1%

7. Baltimore

Baltimore
f11photo / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of families with a single parent: 52.7%
  • Total families with a single parent: 24,131
  • Percentage of families with a single mom: 45.2%
  • Percentage of families with a single dad: 7.6%

6. New Orleans

New Orleans, Louisiana at night
f11 photography / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of families with a single parent: 52.8%
  • Total families with a single parent: 13,566
  • Percentage of families with a single mom: 44.2%
  • Percentage of families with a single dad: 8.7%

5. Philadelphia

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania at dusk
f11photo / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of families with a single parent: 57.0%
  • Total families with a single parent: 79,749
  • Percentage of families with a single mom: 46.3%
  • Percentage of families with a single dad: 10.7%

4. Milwaukee

Milwaukee, Wisconsin
f11photo / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of families with a single parent: 58.9%
  • Total families with a single parent: 36,742
  • Percentage of families with a single mom: 46.1%
  • Percentage of families with a single dad: 12.8%

3. Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis, Tennessee
Steven Frame / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of families with a single parent: 63.1%
  • Total families with a single parent: 37,284
  • Percentage of families with a single mom: 53.9%
  • Percentage of families with a single dad: 9.3%

2. Detroit

Detroit
rlassman / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of families with a single parent: 72.0%
  • Total families with a single parent: 44,234
  • Percentage of families with a single mom: 59.0%
  • Percentage of families with a single dad: 13.0%

1. Cleveland

Cleveland, Ohio
Rudy Balasko / Shutterstock.com
  • Percentage of families with a single parent: 73.3%
  • Total families with a single parent: 26,434
  • Percentage of families with a single mom: 58.3%
  • Percentage of families with a single dad: 15.0%

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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