The Growth of Lone Parenthood: Diversity and Dynamics


In the early 1970s there were fewer than 600,000 lone parent families in the UK. Now, that number has tripled to over 1.5 million - a higher rate than at any time in the last two centuries, and also high in comparison with most other European countries. This growth in lone parenthood has raised a number of social, political and economic concerns. But any discussion of the ‘problem’ and possible solutions to it needs to be informed by an understanding of why people become lone parents, and why they may then form other types of family.

The Growth of Lone Parenthood helps reach this understanding: it is the only study to have asked lone parents themselves for their reasons for entering and leaving lone parenthood. Through a series of surveys and in-depth interviews, the book identifies

  • the reasons for and processes by which some single women have a baby;
  • how some married or cohabiting mothers separate from their partners; and
  • the length of time that women remain lone mothers.

Useful key point findings at the end of each section summarise the data, and a conclusion looks at the wider implications of the report’s findings.