From 1960 to 2020, the percentage of children living with only their mother has tripled, while the percentage of children living with only their father has increased from 1% to 4%, according to census data.
With the pandemic affecting the mental health and performance of children in their school and social life, the idea of preserving the nuclear family structure has become more imperative than ever.
Studies have found that 15.08% of youth experienced a major depressive episode in the past year, while over 60% of youth with major depression do not receive any mental health treatment. Even in states with greater access, one in three are going without treatment.
Meanwhile, children are struggling in school. Over 1 billion students are falling behind in their education because of school closures related to containing the spread of COVID-19 according to the United Nations Children’s Fund.
Additionally, many of not only America’s children but the world’s children do not have access to the internet, TV, or even a radio, so home-based learning becomes obsolete for them. This especially affects children in the lower to middle-income classes.
With these problems coming to a head, many might ask, how do we fix this? As the saying goes, there are many ways to skin a cat. The first solution that comes to mind is to keep the families together.
Although these facts can become more extreme if you factor in demographics, studies have shown that children in single-parent households live in lower socioeconomic levels. This becomes a risk factor for many other issues like academic performance, propensity for violence, and more.
Another solution to the issue is to make accommodations for lower to middle-income families. For example, the Child Tax Credit recently passed, which is expected to lift over 4 million children above the poverty line, according to CNBC. As a result, they will technically cut the number of children living in poverty by 40%.
However, many will ask, is this a legitimate solution?
Even though on paper the children might not look like they are in poverty, will their living situation be any different? The most effective solution has often been viewed as keeping families together. Living in a two-parent household will effectively change how these children live because they have multiple income streams.
American society and the world have repeatedly seen the struggles of single-parent households, so why not try to improve that? Currently, the rise of single-parent households is a global issue, but it is most prominent in America. If America can take the lead on changing this dynamic, maybe the world will follow suit.