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Father only families; Lone/single parent/caregiver families; Mother only families


Single parent families are comprised of a parent/caregiver and one or more dependent children without the presence and support of a spouse or adult partner who is sharing the responsibility of parenting.



During the past several decades, the number of “traditional” two-parent families has decreased while the number of single parent families has increased. For example, while only about 11% of children lived in single parent families in 1970, census data from 2000 indicate that 28% of children lived in single parent families. More recently, however, these increases have leveled off with recent rates having declined from 29% in 1997 to a slightly lower rate of 27% in 2001.

Reasons cited for single parent composition in families have varied during different decades. Specifically, death of a spouse was the most commonly cited reason for single parent families in the...

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Lindwall, J.J., Bailer, B.A., Daly, B.P. (2011). Single Parent Families. In: Goldstein, S., Naglieri, J.A. (eds) Encyclopedia of Child Behavior and Development. Springer, Boston, MA.

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