In 2015, women accounted for 91% of lone parents with dependent children and men the remaining 9%. These percentages have changed little over the previous decade. Women are more likely to take the main caring responsibilities for any children when relationships break down, and therefore become lone parents.
The number of single parents has almost tripled over the past forty years
There were nearly 2 million lone parents with dependent children in the UK in 2015, a figure which has grown steadily but not significantly from 1.8 million in 2003.
There is some debate among experts as to what the important component of the family structure is, centering around whether or not a complete family or the love and affection of the children’s parents is more important.
There are even some that argue that a single parent family is not even really a family.
With respect to this, recent public policy debates have centered around whether or not government should give aid to single parent households, which some believe will reduce poverty and improve their situation, or instead focus on wider issues like protecting employment.
Another issue is juvenile delinquency, specifically whether or not it is more prevalent in single parent households; if children do not live with the parent that is the same sex as them, they may not have anyone to model appropriate behavior.
In addition, there is a debate on the behavioral effects of children from single parent backgrounds and how losing one or both parents affects their academic performance and social well-being with others.