chapter  1
Housing the Single-parent Family
Pages 26

Single-parent families are an extremely diverse group. At present, the majority of single-parent families are the byproducts of divorce and separation. The 1980 census showed that 3,670,000 single-parent families were caused by divorce, 3,454,000 by separation or an absent spouse, 2,268,000 by never having been married, and 658,000 by death of a spouse. The numbers of unwed parents have skyrocketed, and it is very likely that in only a few years this group will soon become the major source of single parenthood. At present, one out of every five American children lives with a single parent, usually the mother (Bianchi & Seltzer, 1986), and one out of every four American families is headed by a single parent (U.S. Bureau of the Census, 1984).