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Living With Mothers Only Is Second-Most Common

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Despite a rise in births to unmarried women and an increase in the number of single mothers, the majority of Americans under age 18 live in families with two parents.

The U.S. Census Bureau’s annual America’s Families and Living Arrangements shows that 69 percent of children lived with two parents in 2016. This is higher than other arrangements, such as living with grandparents or a single parent.

Children living with their mother only made up the second-most common family structure at 23 percent. The percentage of children living with a single mother nearly tripled from 8 percent in 1960. The percentage living only with their father increased from 1 to 4 percent. The number not living with a parent inched up from 3 to 4 percent.

Between 1960 and 2016, the percentage of children living in families with two parents declined from 88 to 69. Of the 50.7 million living with two parents, 47.7 million lived with married parents and 3 million with two unmarried parents.

The data for Living Arrangements of Children Under Age 18 come from the 2016 Current Population Survey Annual Social and Economic Supplement, which has collected statistics on families for more than 60 years. The data shows characteristics of households, living arrangements, married and unmarried couples, and children.


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