Children Raised in Single-Parent Homes Are Less Likely to Complete College

graduateA new study by researchers at New York University, the University of Chicago, and the University of California, Irvine finds that children from single-parent households obtain fewer years of school than children who grew up in married-couple households. Also, for young adults who have reached the age of 24, those who grew up in single-parent homes were less likely to have obtained a bachelor’s degree than children raised in married-couple households.

Furthermore, the authors found that the educational gap between products of single-parent and married-couple families has widened in recent years. Kathleen M. Ziol-Guest, a research associate professor at New York University and lead author of the study, said that “American children raised in single-parent homes appear to be at a greater disadvantage educationally than ever before.”

The researchers adjusted their data to take into account family income because households with single parents, on average, earn significantly less than households with two parents. But they found that income differences accounted for only about one half of the gap in educational attainments.

This data is of particular concern to African Americans. Some two thirds of all African American children are being raised in single-parent families. This is more than double the rate for children in non-Hispanic White households.

The study, “One Parent Students Leave School Earlier,” has been published on the website of the journal EducationNext. It may be accessed here.


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  1. Lisa says:

    It would be interesting to include in that study a comparison between single parents who obtain a minimum of a bachelor’s degree and single parents who did not obtain a degree when looking at children who decide to attend and graduate from college.

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