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The poverty experience of lone mothers and their children

Ashley Provencher and Audrey Carlton

Applied Economics Letters, 2018, vol. 25, issue 6, 401-404

Abstract: Lone mothers, as sole caregivers and women, face unique challenges to guaranteeing the economic well-being of their children compared to lone fathers. While all lone parents face a trade-off in time spent earning wages and time spent caring for children, mothers are likely to earn wages lower than fathers, thus increasing their chances of falling into poverty. Using data from the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2013 Current Population Survey, we estimate the size of the gender poverty gap among lone-parent families. We apply the Oaxaca–Blinder decomposition to assess whether this gap can be solely attributed to parent and family demographics. Much of the poverty gap, however, is attributed to unobservables, suggesting the increased likelihood of being in poverty for lone-mothered families may be, in part, due to gender-based discrimination in labour markets.

Date: 2018
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