The Single Father Family: Recent Trends in Demographic, Economic, and Public Transfer Use Characteristics.

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Brown, Brett V.
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This conference presentation explores current patterns of public transfer receipt (such as earned income tax credit, public health insurance coverage, food stamps, and public assistance) among single-father families and provides an update on existing census-based research on characteristics of single-father families. Data were obtained from the March Current Population Surveys (CPS) for selected years from 1983 through 1995. Demographic characteristics, socioeconomic characteristics, and public transfer receipts were compared for three types of fathers: (1) married fathers; (2) single fathers living with a partner; and (3) single fathers living without a partner. Findings indicated that the number of single-father families increased substantially between 1984 and 1994, and by 1995, accounted for 5.9 percent of all fathers living with their own children. "Cohabiting" fathers were considerably younger than married or "non-cohabiting" single fathers. Single fathers were more likely to be black, had less education and significantly lower incomes than married fathers. Only six percent of non-cohabiting single fathers received child support payments. Rates of health insurance coverage for single fathers was substantially lower than that experienced by single-mother families. Single fathers were less likely to work full time than married fathers. Single-father families depended much more than married-father families on public transfers. Fathers' income increased in the late 1980s and decreased in the 1990s. The rates of receipt for most forms of public transfers declined or stayed constant between 1984 and 1989 and increased between 1989 and 1994. (Author abstract).

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