Children And Families
Single-Parent Families


Single-Parent Families

What does this measure?

The number of single-parent families with children under 18, as a percent of all families with children under 18.

Why is this important?

Single-parent families may experience more stress and economic strain than dual-parent households with two incomes. Children in these families can be at risk of poorer health and educational outcomes. However, children may also have opportunities to build resilience and experience a larger community through the support of extended family and friends.

How is the region doing?

In 2014-18, 25% of families with children under 18 in the MetroWest region were headed by one parent, well below the national rate of 34% and the statewide rate of 32%. The regional rate was about the same in 2009-13 but increased 4 percentage points since 2000 (21%). The state and nation had similar increases during this period.

Among local counties, the highest rate was found in Worcester (31%), while the lowest rate was in Norfolk (20%). Every county saw an increase from 2000 to 2014-18. Milford and Framingham had rates much higher than that of the overall region - about 1 in 3 families with children were headed by single parents in 2014-18, up 10 and 6 percentage points, respectively, since 2000. For comparison, roughly half of families were headed by single parents in Boston in 2014-18, about the same as in 2000.

Notes about the data

The multi-year figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined five years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census. Data for this indicator are expected to be released in the fourth quarter.

Single-Parent Families
United States29%35%34%
Acton town, Middlesex County11%12%*7%**
Ashland town, Middlesex County15%20%*15%*
Bedford town, Middlesex County13%15%**16%**
Bellingham town, Norfolk County14%26%*22%**
Boxborough town, Middlesex County10%14%***17%***
Carlisle town, Middlesex County8%8%***6%***
Concord town, Middlesex County13%8%**16%**
Dedham town, Norfolk County18%22%*23%*
Dover town, Norfolk County10%6%***12%***
Framingham city, Middlesex County25%28%31%
Franklin town, Norfolk County16%*16%*
Groton town, Middlesex County15%14%**14%***
Harvard town, Worcester County12%19%***17%***
Holliston town, Middlesex County13%14%**11%**
Hopkinton town, Middlesex County13%12%*9%**
Hudson town, Middlesex County20%28%*24%**
Lexington town, Middlesex County11%16%*10%*
Lincoln town, Middlesex County12%12%***14%***
Littleton town, Middlesex County16%13%***15%**
Marlborough city, Middlesex County19%23%*28%*
Maynard town, Middlesex County20%16%***14%**
Medfield town, Norfolk County10%10%**10%**
Medway town, Norfolk County11%12%**15%**
Milford town, Worcester County23%28%*33%*
Millis town, Norfolk County15%17%***20%***
Natick town, Middlesex County15%15%*14%*
Needham town, Norfolk County9%15%*14%*
Sherborn town, Middlesex County12%10%***11%***
Southborough town, Worcester County6%11%**14%**
Stow town, Middlesex County10%13%***14%***
Sudbury town, Middlesex County9%7%**11%**
Walpole town, Norfolk County9%15%*9%**
Waltham city, Middlesex County19%27%*23%*
Wayland town, Middlesex County10%10%**7%***
Wellesley town, Norfolk County10%11%*12%*
Westborough town, Worcester County11%10%**11%*
Westford town, Middlesex County10%10%*12%*
Weston town, Middlesex County10%9%***18%**
Westwood town, Norfolk County10%11%**11%**

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%.

Number of Single-Parent Families
United States11,101,75512,987,22012,703,766
Acton town, Middlesex County369437*264**
Ashland town, Middlesex County331442*333*
Bedford town, Middlesex County203265**316**
Bellingham town, Norfolk County326532*447**
Boxborough town, Middlesex County8794***130***
Carlisle town, Middlesex County6556***34***
Concord town, Middlesex County305185**381**
Dedham town, Norfolk County531618*629*
Dover town, Norfolk County8451***108***
Framingham city, Middlesex County2,0412,4062,550
Franklin town, Norfolk County745*701*
Groton town, Middlesex County238234**188***
Harvard town, Worcester County98157***118***
Holliston town, Middlesex County287263**243**
Hopkinton town, Middlesex County281309*229**
Hudson town, Middlesex County467671*535**
Lexington town, Middlesex County464780*534*
Lincoln town, Middlesex County163125***135***
Littleton town, Middlesex County185143***200**
Marlborough city, Middlesex County8761,090*1,341*
Maynard town, Middlesex County268190***177**
Medfield town, Norfolk County209189**201**
Medway town, Norfolk County211217**270**
Milford town, Worcester County8381,101*1,172*
Millis town, Norfolk County176203***192***
Natick town, Middlesex County617679*683*
Needham town, Norfolk County353625*615*
Sherborn town, Middlesex County8059***75***
Southborough town, Worcester County86153**201**
Stow town, Middlesex County88130***139***
Sudbury town, Middlesex County266204**329**
Walpole town, Norfolk County267463*301**
Waltham city, Middlesex County9501,424*1,176*
Wayland town, Middlesex County211188**140***
Wellesley town, Norfolk County364390*444*
Westborough town, Worcester County268275**314*
Westford town, Middlesex County338357*429*
Weston town, Middlesex County151146***262**
Westwood town, Norfolk County201228**237**

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%.

Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty Not Applicable
Children Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Disengaged Youth Not Applicable
Reports of Domestic Violence Not Applicable
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Not Applicable
Households Without Vehicles Not Applicable
Means of Transportation to Work Not Applicable
Average Travel Time to Work Not Applicable
Households With Internet Access Not Applicable
Voter Participation Rate Not Applicable
Average Charitable Contribution Not Applicable
Protected Land Not Applicable
Drug Poisoning Mortality Rate Not Applicable
Crimes Against People Not Applicable
Incarceration Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Total Population Not Applicable
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Not Applicable
Language Diversity Not Applicable
Population by Age Not Applicable
Change in Population by Age/Gender Not Applicable
Seniors Living Alone Not Applicable
People with Disabilities Not Applicable
Change in Total Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
High-Tech Jobs Not Applicable
Female to Male Earnings Ratio Not Applicable
Prekindergarten Participation Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 3 English, by Student Subgroup Not Applicable
Chronically Absent Students Not Applicable
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty, by Education Level Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Household Receiving Temporary Assistance Not Applicable
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income Not Applicable
Median Household Income, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Living Wage Not Applicable
80/20 Income Ratio Not Applicable
Access to Financial Services, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates, by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Cost of Homeownership Not Applicable
Cost of Rent Not Applicable
Homelessness Not Applicable