Changing the Face of Poor Lone Mothers: Understanding How Alternative Poverty Definitions Change the Composition of Lone Mother Families Living in Poverty

Misty L. Heggeness, U.S. Census Bureau
Laryssa Mykyta, U.S. Census Bureau

Using the 2011 Current Population Survey (CPS) Annual Social and Economic Supplement (ASEC), this paper analyzes how changes in poverty measurement affect the poverty rate of lone mother families. It compares new Supplemental Poverty Measures to official poverty rates within the United States. Lone mother families, defined as those families where the father is absent and children are present, include both families where the mother is the householder, as well as those subfamilies residing in someone else’s household (usually the parent(s) or other relative(s)). This paper adds to the literature on lone mother family composition and dynamics by analyzing an expanded definition of lone mother family (one that is not limited to mothers that are householders) and provides critical comparisons of the real impact on poverty rates to changes in poverty definitions for this group. Since the Supplemental Poverty Measure allows for inclusion of alternative sources of income, such as resources from government supported programs focused on alleviating poverty, a decrease in the poverty rate for lone mother families is expected.

  See paper

Presented in Session 98: Single mothers