Many of the barriers to work identified within Beyond the Barriers are faced by other disadvantaged groups to some extent. Lone parents are not unused to being vilified in the media, but they are nothing like the people that some claim them to be.
Less than 2 per cent of single parents are teenagers; the median age of single parents is 38.1 and around 8 per cent of single parents (186,000) are fathers.
The employment rate for single parents varies depending on the age of their youngest child. Once their children are 12 or over, the single parents’ employment rate is similar to, or higher than, the employment rate for mothers in couples (71 per cent of single parents whose child is 11 to 15 are in work).
Incidentally, where single parents are not working, this is often because there are health issues that make work difficult; 33 per cent of unemployed single parents have a disability or longstanding illness and 34 per cent have a child with a disability. Check out Gingerbread Statistics to learn more, including the fact that the average duration of single parenthood is around 5 years.