Key Issues for Lone Parents Today

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What are the key issues facing lone parents in Britain today? This essay aims to form discussion on the problems lone parents cope with in Britain today. While identifying many this essay will discuss poverty and its effects on health, and social stigma. A lone parent family is defined as: ‘A mother or father living without a spouse (and not cohabiting) with his or her never-married dependent child or children aged either under 16 or from 16 to 19 and undertaking full-time education.’(J Haskey 2002). This definition includes people who are married but choosing to or finding themselves living on their own with the children of the family, and also those who are living with others who are not their partner with parents for example. Figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show that 49% of black families are headed by a lone parent, in contrast to just 8% of Indian families. 15% of Pakistani and Bangladeshi families are one-parent, 21% of white families and 29% described as mixed race or ‘other’ ethnic groups. Overall figures show that 11% of lone parents are from black or ethnic minority communities. The average period of being a lone parent is around five years (Ben Wilson et al 2010). In the Britain today, as in most Western countries, the last century has seen a change in views on sexuality, marriage and childbearing, as well as the a more liberal view to divorce, a general rise in divorce rates, an increase in rates of cohabitation and births outside marriage, and an increase in the proportion of lone mother families (Duncan and Phillips, 2008; Office for National Statistics, 2009) In 20011 the number of opposite sex cohabiting couples in the U.K was 2.9 million compared with 2.1 million in 2001, the number of married or civil partner couples reduced from 12.3 million to 12.1 million. Lone parents with dependent children were 1.96 million in 2011
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