Birmingham has the second highest percentage of single parents in the United States, based on an analysis of cities with a population of over 100,000.
According to the study from Haven Life, an online term life insurance agency, 72.1 percent of families in the Magic City are single-parent households. Most single-family households, 65.8 percent, are led by a single-mother and 7.9 percent are led by a single father, according to the study, which was released today.
Haven Lifeâ€™s study is based on an analysis of data from 2017 U.S. Census estimates. The insurance company defined single-parent household as any family home with children under 18 that was headed by an unmarried mother or father. The percentage does include unmarried couples living together.
On average in the United States, 32 percent of families are single-parent households. The city with the highest percentage is Rochester, NY. at 73.7.
According to the study, race is a strong predictor of family structure in America, which is in part a reflection of socioeconomic differences that continue to persist.
â€śWhile correlation doesnâ€™t imply causation, Birminghamâ€™s demographic profile skews towards populations that typically have higher rates of single-parent households,â€ť said Brittney Burgett, marketing and communications director at Haven Life. “For instance, the population of Birmingham is 71.1 percent black, a demographic which has a disproportionately large number of single parents compared to other demographic groups. Additionally, 25.4 percent of Birminghamâ€™s population is below the poverty level, compared to the 13.4 percent U.S. average. In many cases, poverty can have a destabilizing effect on family structure, resulting in more single-parent households.
According to the Haven Life study, only 37 percent of African-American children under 18 are in married-couple family households compared to 85 percent of Asian children. About 75 percent of white children are in married-couple family households.
Because of the lack of a second-income, single-parent households are more likely be face financial challenges than married-couple households. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, 31 percent of single-parent households with children fall below the poverty threshold, compared to less than 7 percent for married-couple households with children.
Being a single-parent can also make it difficult to find and keep employment. The Haven Life study found that about 8.6 percent of single parents are unemployed. The majority of those unemployed are single mothers rather than single fathers.
In comparison, 97.6 percent of all married-couple families with children have at least one parent that is employed, meaning that just 2.4 percent of such households have no employment-based income from a parent.