Why Have Americans Become More Hostile Toward Single Mothers?
Four experts explain why Americans are turning against single mothers, after years of growing acceptance
What do you think of single women raising children on their own — is it a good thing for society, a bad thing, or do you think it doesn’t make much difference? In 2018 and again in 2021, a representative national sample of close to 10,000 adults in the U.S. answered that question. Results showed that the disparagement of single mothers is on the rise, according to a report from the Pew Research Center. In 2018, 40 percent said that single women raising kids on their own was a bad thing; by 2021, that number rose to 47 percent.
Single motherhood is bad for society:
- 40 percent, 2018
- 47 percent, 2021
Most of the others said that single women raising kids on their own did not make much of a difference. In 2021, 43 percent said that. Only 10 percent said it was a good thing.
Some subgroups of Americans were even more likely than others to disapprove of single mothers. The researchers asked participants to report their gender, age, race or ethnicity, and political party. All of those characteristics mattered.
Who Is Especially Likely to Denounce Single Mothers?
Men were especially likely to say that single mothers were bad for society:
- 59 percent of men
- 37 percent of women
For men, that represented an increase of 9 points since 2018, and for women, an increase of 7 points.
Republicans were especially likely to say that single mothers were bad for society:
- 62 percent of Republicans or people leaning Republican
- 36 percent of Democrats or people leaning Democratic
For Republicans, that was an increase of 9 points since 2018, and for Democrats, an increase of 6 points.