The Changing Nature of Lone Parenthood in the U.K. and Its Consequences for Children

Susan Harkness, University of Bath
Paul Gregg, University of Bristol
Marina Fernandez Salgado, University of Bath

In the UK up to one-half of all children will spend some time growing up with just one-parent at home. Yet, in spite of its frequency and rapid increase in prevalence, there is little empirical evidence on how the nature of lone-parenthood has changed. Nor is there evidence on how the association between lone-parenthood and child outcomes has changed over recent decades. This study addresses these questions using data from four large UK birth cohort studies which follow children born in 1958, 1970, 1991/92 and 2000. This data allows the experience of children who have ever lived in a lone-parent family to be tracked over a long period. We find evidence of changes in the timing and duration of lone parenthood and an increasing delay to re-partnering. Over time we find that the negative effect of growing up in a lone-parent family to have declined but greater diversity of outcomes.

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Presented in Poster Session 9: Children and Youth; Data and Methods