Question of the week: Will your jaw drop when you see how many single parent homes there are in your area?


SP map

The data is in, and the news for kids is not good. There has been another jump in the percentage of children living in single parent homes.

In the United States, 35% of all children now live in single parent homes. Stunningly, that number is even higher in some states– over 40% in seven states reaching a high of 48% in Mississippi. Utah has the fewest single-parent homes with “only” 19% (still way too many).

This trend has a profound impact on your ministry to children, and you need to be aware of the single parent family population where you live.

This data is collected and published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation in their Kids Count website and book.

Kids Count, a project by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is a national and state-by-state effort to track the status of children in the United States.  There is a LOT of information you can find out about kids and their families in your community. I am not aware of similar data available for Canada or other countries.

Using the website to find information about your area

Today I’m going to show you what the families in my part of Florida look like. This will help you learn how to use the Kids Count website. You can repeat the process to get the data where you live. I’ll hyperlink the information at each step. On each page to the left side of the linked page you see “Refine this indicator.”

Use the refine indicator to find information by state, congressional district and some even by cities. Since there is no large city in my area I have to use the Congressional District indicator. These are statics for 2013, the most recent stats available.

Most of this information is under the section titled “Family Structure” in Florida. From the “Family Structure” you can locate

  • Child population by household type
  • Children in single parent families
  • Children living with cohabiting partners
  • Grandchildren in the care of grandparents

All of the following stats are for Congressional District 1 in Florida

Family Structure by household type

Married couples – 63% or 99,000 married couple families

Father only – 7% or 11,000 homes parented by a father only

Mother only – 28% or 45,000 homes parented by a mother only

Single parent

37%, or 55,000 single parent homes

(Florida is 40%. The surrounding states of Alabama sets at 41% and Mississippi’s rating of went down from 49% in 2012 to 48%)

Cohabiting Domestic Partners

8% or 12,000 homes with partners that are not married but living together. This # may be low because these families are fluid with partners moving in and out. Research shows this is not good for the children. Cohabiting families have children that fare worse over all even than single parent families. Many adults don’t report cohabiting relationships.


4%, or 7,000 Grandparent households (this # is going to be low because many times the family / grandparents don’t want to admit to the situation)


Total % of children in living arrangements other than two-parent birth families = 49%

Total # of children in living arrangements other than two-parent birth families = 74,000

My Congressional district is not large. We are relatively a small area and nothing compared to many large cities and yet seventy four thousand children live in a home that is not with their original two-parent birth parents. These numbers don’t even count the foster care children or children in step families.

49% is a large portion of our next generation. And you know what is scary? The majority of the children in single parent homes don’t attend church. We can change this. Just think what it would be like if  you reached out to this huge population of families.

I’d be interested in hearing what the numbers are in your area. You can leave the results of your research in the comment section below.





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