Why are there more single parents in today's society?

Updated April 17, 2017

In the past, single parents were largely the result of the death of one parent. Now, there are a wide variety of reasons why parents are raising children on their own. Unplanned pregnancies and marital problems often result in single parenting -- in particular, single mothers. Having a child as a single adult is another reason why there are more single parents in today's society.

Generation Gaps

The Pew Research Center indicates that nearly four in every 10 births occur to unmarried women. Americans have previously frowned upon childbirth outside of marriage. Giving birth without being married has become common among young adults. Young adults have a different set of moral values and beliefs regarding sex, marriage and raising children than previous generations. These births may start with a couple living together, but can often result in single parenting.


Divorce is another reason for single parenting. The traditional family home with a mother and father is no longer the norm as divorce rates continue to rise. The Pew Research Center indicates that Americans feel a divorce is better for children when both parents are very unhappy with each other. Participants in the Pew Research Center study indicate that divorce should be used as a last resort when it comes to unhappy parents. Single parenting can be difficult for a child. Children may find themselves in the centre of arguing parents and being shuffled between households.

Unplanned Pregnancy

With pregnancies that are unplanned, the end result is often a single mom. Unplanned pregnancies often occur in the teenage population. When teens become pregnant, the father often disappears, according to Webster University. Teenage pregnancies can also lead to poor care of a child and poverty. Webster University indicates that this is largely because of lack of maturity, a decreased likelihood of finishing high school or furthering education, and a lack of access to childcare.


Americans often perceive that marriage and having children go hand in hand. The Pew Research Center indicates that a decreasing number of adults are married. Adults may be unmarried as the result of choice or simply not finding the right individual to marry. As a result, many women may choose to have children through the use of a sperm donor. This automatically results in single parenting. Many individuals deem having children to be a vital part of adult happiness. Adults -- single or married -- may place having a child above a career, hobbies and other relatives.

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About the Author

Michelle Zehr started writing professionally in 2009. She has written on health, fitness, fashion, interior design, home decorating,sports and finance for several websites. Zehr possesses a Bachelor of Arts in communication from the University of Pittsburgh, a Master of Arts in professional writing from Chatham University and a graduate certificate in health promotion from California University of Pennsylvania.