Jan 22, 2018 in Analysis


There has been a substantial change in the form of American families in the past years. There have been many changes, but the greatest has been the increasing number of single-parent families. There are many myths about single-parent families. These concerns how unique are the single-parent systems, how the children are affected, and how to build healthy single-parent families.

There are many strains that single parents face. They always worry on how their children will feed and how their health will be sustained. The single parents indeed have economic challenges since they play the role of the provider as well as a nature (Rowlands 164). In Pennsylvania, like the entire United States, single-parenthood can be by divorce, artificial insemination, adoption, surrogate motherhood, death, and child neglect or child abuse.


An anecdote is presented of Terry Hitchcock who had three children to bring up on his own, and he decided to do the impossible. He purposed to run two thousand miles in seventy five straight days from Saint Paul all the way to Atlanta. His intent was to create awareness on the need for Americans to show compassion, recognition, and support to single parent families. His intention was to run a distance of one complete marathon every day and for two months, two weeks. The funny thing in the case is that Terry was fifty seven years old with bad Knees, a weak heart, and shaky ankles. It was wonders! Terry crossed the finishing point in Atlanta. This was timely for the starting ceremonies before the kick off of the summer Olympics in 1996 (Hitchcock, Jessen, Turner, & Gearhart 12).

This action by terry demonstrated a lot of love for children and single parents with heart-breaking challenges. The story assisted in defining the weaknesses and strengths, the failures and successes of the experiences of single parents within the context of psychologists, academic experts, social workers, and personal anecdotes from the single parents, and their children, neighbors, friends, colleagues, and others.

In Pennsylvania, it is more challenging for a single-parent family to provide for the basic needs to the family. An example is that of Ms Burke in Pittsburgh, who had two children aged four and six. Her earnings were quite low, and her family federal poverty level is $15,670. Her work-related expenses increased even more as she moved from part-time to full-time employment.

According to U.S Bureau of statistics the percentage of single-parent homes in America rose drastically from 18.7 % in 1970 to 27.7% in 1999. Many families living in Pennsylvania have a lot of economic challenges. The low-income families who are residents in the state add up to 411,000, and out of which 121,000 have pre-school-aged children. Eighty two per cent of these low-income families in the state, have one parent at least, who works full-time (Staff of the Government Innovators Network 28).

A personal observation is that the single parents are more likely to be poorer economically and health wise than the couple mothers. Children’s development in single-parent families is influenced by many factors including parent’s age, occupation, and education level. The role of friends, extended families, and family income cannot also be underestimated. Policy making in the state has instituted some measures to address the blight of the poor, including the single parents. There is tax forgiveness for those in need.

The low-income Pennsylvanians are relieved of their tax burden, since there has been a move to “forgive” or refund some money up to some thresholds in accordance with the size and composition of the family. A hundred per cent forgiveness threshold is $32’000 for a family of two children and two adults. In cases of 150 % Federal Poverty Level (FPL), the concerned families do not pay any taxes. The program developed by the state has benefitted the low-income earners. Most single-parent families benefit on a refund if they are earning a maximum $30,000.

The facts about what happens to single parents in United Sates show that single mothers encounter a lot of difficulties in bringing up children (Yarber and Sharp 112).  The toughest challenge is that of financial difficulties. Single mothers are not able to work full time; hence they find it difficult to pay for day care for their children. Most of these mothers are dependent on AFDC, a program which offers aid to families who have dependent children. There has been overdependence on this program.

Financial worries for many families of single mothers are attributed to many reasons. Despite not fulfilling the financial obligations for their children, a few ex-spouses do not comply with the financial obligations as ordered by the courts. This leads to physical and psychological burden to the single mother because she may not be able to meet the needs for the child especially food and clothing. In most of the cases, the court ordered support is considered a luxury but it just cater for the basic needs.

Education also demands some pay since it is not entirely free even in the public or state schools. AFDC may not support the mother until the entire court order is affected.  Often, it is difficult to find an ex-husband and this force the single mother to work hard, and meet the life obligations alone. It is quite strenuous to cater to all these demands alone. Single mothers, therefore, struggle paying bills, especially relating to healthcare, education, food, clothing, and shelter. For most of the mothers, ensuring the family health is not affordable. This is even complicated when it comes to settling large bills arising from medical emergencies without proper medical scheme.

For every four children in United States, one is brought up by a single parent. There is a significant percentage of single-parenthood in U.S than any other developed country. This trend has been on the rise according to the most recent statistics. Out of the twenty seven most industrialized countries, there are 25.8 per cent of children, who are raised by single parents in United States, compared to 14.9 per cent in all other countries. The article with this data indicates that single parents were likely to be employed in the United States (Stevenson and Wolfers 206).

The same studies have revealed that the phenomenon of single parent has persisted over decades. The studies established that England and United States have a high teenage birth rate compared to other developed nations. However, the proportions of those children born out of the wedlock were not significantly different compared to other developed nations.

Possible solutions to economic problems in United States are to increase the employment of single mothers in order to reduce the poverty levels. A Luxembourg Income Study (LIS) of 1980s revealed that the poverty levels among single women declined due to the increased employment levels. The trend was observed in 1990, 2000, and currently the move has assisted many single mothers (Baumol and Blinder 331).


The single parenthood has been on the increase in the past few decades. The increase has been attributed to issues like divorce, artificial insemination, adoption, surrogate motherhood, and death. The most common cases are that of single mothers.  Single mothers have had a lot of challenges providing for their families owing to low income. In order to ameliorate the situation, policy makers in Pennsylvania have instituted policies that promote the employment of these single parents and relief the of the tax burdens.


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