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The Social Problem of Lone Mothers in Europe

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The Palgrave Handbook of Global Social Problems

Abstract

This chapter offers an overview of the social problem of lone mothers in European countries. The characteristics of lone parenthood have changed since the 1990s in that the phenomenon has become more statistically visible, with projections to 2030 forecasting a further increase. In the decade from 2009 to 2019, lone parents consisted of not only widowed men and women and single mothers, but mostly separated and divorced parents, predominantly lone mothers: lone parenthood is still significantly gendered. Although the literature on this topic has flourished, many aspects and their impacts on relevant policies still require in-depth studies. This chapter presents the different definitions of “lone parenthood,” an overview of the statistical dimensions and characteristics of this phenomenon, and the main studies on its negative outcomes on some vital life domains of lone mothers, including poverty, employment, and health. Then, it illustrates the current effective/ineffective policies in preventing the poverty risks and facilitating the inclusion of lone mothers in the labor market. Furthermore, the chapter reviews the main suggestions for future policies from short- and long-term perspectives, which aim to reduce or mitigate lone mothers’ problems, as highlighted by recent research. Finally, the analysis focuses on aspects about which the debate remains open. Paths for future research highlighted by the literature point to the life course perspective as a key theoretical dimension to understanding what should be done in terms of creating evidence-based policies.

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Tartari, M. (2022). The Social Problem of Lone Mothers in Europe. In: Baikady, R., Sajid, S., Przeperski, J., Nadesan, V., Rezaul, I., Gao, J. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Global Social Problems. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-68127-2_90-1

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