(Mis)Measuring Lone-Mother Families

Misty Heggeness, University of Minnesota

Numerous studies attempt to analyze the economic and social vulnerability of lone-mother families using female-headed households as the unit of analysis; however, these studies often exclude lone-mother families living in extended family members' households. My analysis shows that a large percent of households containing lone-mother families are not captured by analyzing female-headed households because single, separated, and divorced mothers commonly live in an extended family member's household. Using IPUMS-International data and analyzing 22 countries, I show that lone-mother families are underestimated in every country when female-headed households are used as the unit of analysis. This under count has serious implications for research regarding the vulnerability of lone-mother families. I argue that to accurately analyze the vulnerability of lone-mother families, those living with extended family must also be included in the analysis.

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Presented in Poster Session 2