Single Fathers Have 8 Times More Wealth Than Single Mothers, Data Shows

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  • It can be difficult for single parents to build wealth.
  • Data reveals that men are doing much better than women in that regard.

Talk about a massive wealth gap.

Being a single parent certainly has its challenges. There's no one to turn to when you need help wrangling kids into the bath, and there's no one to watch the kids when you need to run out to the supermarket to restock the fridge. 

But single parents don't just face logistical challenges. They can also face financial ones.

Some single parents don't get financial support from an ex-partner. And so it's on them to not only keep up with household expenses, but also, build savings. But while new data reveals that single mothers have clearly struggled to build wealth, fathers haven't struggled to nearly the same degree.

Single fathers are doing better financially

In a recent report, the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis found that single mothers have an average net worth of $7,000, while single men have an average net worth of $59,000. All told, that's more than eight times the amount of wealth single women have.

Now to be fair, though this data was published in a 2022 report, it's based on 2019 findings. So it may be the case that the aforementioned wealth gap has widened or narrowed since then.

But other data supports the idea that single mothers have a greater struggle, financially speaking, than single men. The Pew reports that 30% of single mothers and their families are living below the poverty line. By contrast, only 17% of single fathers and their families are in a similar boat. 

Of course, the gender pay gap could be playing a huge role in that divide. Women are said to consistently make less money than their similarly qualified male counterparts. Through the years, that's apt to result in lower levels of savings and less wealth all in.

How single parents are faring on the whole

A recent report by The Ascent found that the median net worth of Americans in 2019 was $121,760. And while the average U.S. income in 2021 was $97,962, that doesn't tell the same story as net worth, which is the sum of a given person's assets minus their debts. However, that $121,760 figure is far more telling, because it shows that regardless of gender, single parents may only have a limited ability to grow wealth over time.

How single parents can boost their net worth

As children age and paying for childcare becomes less necessary, single parents can seize the opportunity by taking the money they aren't spending on that and saving or investing it instead. Of course, all parents, including single ones, will need to weigh their priorities when it comes to savings -- namely, they'll need to strike a balance between saving for things like their kids' education versus their own retirement. But once the burden of paid childcare diminishes, parents should make every effort to capitalize. 

Meanwhile, mothers in particular should do what they can to fight for fair wages. Researching salary data and advocating for equitable pay could help mothers -- single and otherwise -- grow their net worth and catch up to their male counterparts. 

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