Voting: The Best Mother’s Day Present for Single Moms
May 11th, 2012
It’s Mother’s Day – a traditional holiday in a time of untraditional families. Today, there are more than 10 million single mothers living with children younger than 18, up from 3.4 million in 1970. In 2010, according to the U.S. National Center for Health Statistics, 40.8 percent of all births were to unmarried women – up from 18 percent in 1980.
And on a day set aside to honor and celebrate all mothers, it’s time to recognize that single moms are having a tough time in this economy:
- In 2010, single moms earned nearly $20,000 less than married men; just 59 cents to every dollar. The wage gap between unmarried and married moms was nearly $10,000.
- In the year to October 2011, 66% of single mothers reported having trouble paying a bill on time. Only 40% of married mothers reported such an issue.
- In the same year, 44% of unmarried mothers had difficulty paying their rent or mortgage. About a third of married mothers report the same challenge (31% of married mothers).
- 16% of unmarried mothers, compared to 9% of married mothers, reported going hungry in the same year because they could not afford food.
Finally – as the number of unmarried moms has increased, so has the percentage of unmarried mothers who are not registered to vote. In 2008, 34 percent of single moms were not registered to vote; in 2010, that number rose to 42 percent. That’s means as single mothers become a larger part of our population they are becoming a smaller share of the electorate. That’s a disparity the Voter Participation Center is working to close this year in 29 states – because giving unmarried moms their voice in our democracy is the best Mother’s Day present we can give.
 IWPR/Rockefeller Report, Women And Men Living On The Edge, October 2011.