Decomposing Trends in Lone Mothers' Educational Attainment, Labor Market Outcomes and Poverty

Misty L. Heggeness, U.S. Census Bureau

Today more women are having children out of wedlock and on their own; lone motherhood is on the rise (DeParle and Tavernise 2012, Roiphe 2012). While researchers typically focus on single, female-headed households to understand the dynamics of this particular population, this narrow definition limits our understanding of lone mothers. This paper uses data from the Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC) to compare the educational attainment, labor market outcomes, poverty status and inequality of lone mothers by headship status, age, and household composition over the past five decades (1966 to the present). It assesses these trends within the context of macroeconomic factors and relevant policy changes and attempts to quantify the differential impact on diverse lone mother groups.

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Presented in Session 212: Human Capital, Labor Market Outcomes and Inequality