21.8 million children under the age of 21 are being raised by a single parent. That’s more than 1 child in 4 being raised by a single parent. Single Mothers represent 82.6% of all custodial parents, nearly 10 million single moms. Among the 7.8 million custodial single parents who were awarded child support, only 46.8% received all of the child support money that was due. $39 billion dollars is owed in back child support to 29 million children of single parent women. Over 2 Million single mothers (23.76%,) will receive no child support this year, not a single penny; on average, those receiving child support, get about $280 per month.
Half of all single mothers out there live at or below the poverty level – compared to the 8% of married couples with children. That half makes up a quarter of Americans living below poverty.
According to the 2012 DHR Register, the poverty level is approximately $15,000/year -those AT the poverty level stretch $1,260 as their monthly budget. Low-end rent and utilities facilitating single parent families is between $800-$1000 a month, leaving around$75/week for gas, food and incidentals. Survival at this level is not realistic. This surplus hardly covers gas.
The common misconception is that single-parents not receiving child support can turn to the government for assistance. Fewer than 17% of single moms receive government assistance — even in minor forms like food stamps, (Economic Roundtable). Most programs have long waiting lists, many over a year, unless the women in question are unemployed. Television shows depict independent women choosing motherhood amidst high-powered careers or glorifying irresponsible Teen Moms, but what about us? W.E. are the boring single mothers; W.E. conceived, had children in established marriages, and believed W.E. would still have that support. W.E. don’t want to sacrifice our children’s standard of living due to the mistakes of others. What message is sent when W.E. are told in order to feed our children and get assistance, W.E. can’t have any income?Most single mothers are capable and hard working. W.E. are not sitting at home living off welfare. 45% of all single mothers hold down more than one job. (Bureau of Labor Statistics). Sleep, self-time, and chores are the top things working mothers forgo to spend time with their children (University of Maryland Study). As a result of the heavy responsibilities involved in single parenting, single parent women experience the highest rate of unemployment, and receive the lowest rate of pay regardless of education. (Economic Roundtable). While the hourly wage for women without children is 90% of a man’s, the comparable figure for women with children is 70%. (Bureau of Labor Statistics).
W.E. have looked for a social institution that gives relief through opportunity. W.E. found none. W.E. are a group of single mothers pursuing various levels of our graduate and undergraduate education in social and political disciplines at the University of South Alabama. W.E. have put ourselves through school while holding down multiple jobs and raising multiple children on our own. There were times when W.E. didn’t see how W.E. could make it, so now that W.E. have, W.E. are here for others, developing programs for womenwho, like us, don’t accept the only option is to get in the welfare line and be quiet. W.E. did it almost entirely alone. W.E. know it can be done.
Our mission is not to let those who come behind us give up. There is hope. W.E. will not give up our striving. W.E. will work to reclaim the Unraised Generation.