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Takeaways

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  • The median household income for single parent households in the U.S. is $37,100. Across major metros, this number ranges from a high of $78,000 to a low of $22,000. Nationally, the unemployment rate among single parents is 5.9 percent and ranges from less than 1 percent to as high as 19 percent.
  • The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) considers families who pay more than 30 percent of their income on housing to be “cost burdened.” On the whole, housing accounts for 23 percent of household income among single parents in the U.S. That fluctuates dramatically across major metro areas, from 16 percent to 38 percent.
  • Research shows that parents’ educational level has strong positive effects on the educational and occupational success of children. In cities where many single parents have a college education, we’re interpreting that as a sign that they’re “doing well,” even though that’s a subjective measure. Across the U.S., one-third of all single parents hold a bachelor’s degree or higher. Some major metro areas fall far beneath that average. In parts of Texas and central California, less than 20 percent of single parents have a bachelor’s degree. On the other hand, in the Washington D.C. metropolitan area, that number is 57 percent.
  • Less time commuting means more time with the kids. The average American worker spends 26 minutes commuting each way (53 minutes per day). At 19 minutes each way, Wichita, Kansas, is the only major metro area in which workers have a commute that’s under 20 minutes.
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