A disproportionate number of Black children under 18 live in single-parent homes, according to new data from the U.S. Census Bureau.
In its annual “America’s Families and Living Arrangements” data collection, the Bureau examined marriage and family, the living arrangements of older adults and other household characteristics.
It found that a majority of the 73.7 million American children under age 18 live in families with two parents (69 percent)—a decrease from 88 percent in 1960. Of those 50.7 million children living in families with two parents, 47.7 million live with two married parents and 3 million live with two unmarried parents.
Broken down by race, however, the statistics show stark differences. The percentage of White children under 18 who live with both parents almost doubles that of Black children, according to the data. While 74.3 percent of all White children below the age of 18 live with both parents, only 38.7 percent of African-American minors can say the same.
Instead, more than one-third of all Black children in the United States under the age of 18 live with unmarried mothers—compared to 6.5 percent of White children. The figures reflect a general trend: During the 1960-2016 period, the percentage of children living with only their mother nearly tripled from 8 to 23 percent and the percentage of children living with only their father increased from 1 to 4 percent.
Social scientists have long espoused the benefits for children who live in two-parent homes, including economic, educational, health and other advantages.