Living Wage Report Shows Single Parents Are Not Making Enough Money
A new report highlights how impossible it is to earn a living wage for parents across the United States. Between stagnant wages and the economic crisis, families are struggling to afford basic care, and they have been struggling for some time. the 2022 County Health Rankings The study highlights how close millions of families are to financial limit and that hardly any single parent earns a salary that will cover their family’s basic needs.
Single parents must earn more than they currently earn
The study found that to make ends meet – that is, to cover the costs of medical care, transport, food, housing and childcare – a family with one adult and two children must earn an average of $35.80 per hour (or about $75,000 per year). . In some counties, that amount could go as low as $29.81 per hour (or about $63,000 per year). In others, it might be as high as $65.45 per hour (about $138,000 per year).
However, when compared to the average hourly wage in the United States, which is about $31.73 according to government data (about $67,000 per year), it is easy to see that many families are not earning enough to stay afloat, let alone thrive. In fact, the study found that in almost every county in the United States, a typical worker earns less than what would be a living wage for a single parent with two children. (In April 2022, ZipRecruiter estimated that the average salary of a lone parent was about $51,000 per year, or $25/hour, which is about the same as the national average salary.)
Only two out of 3,100 counties in the United States provide a living wage for the average worker, as defined in this study. And that’s not taking into account a salary that would also cover retirement, education, emergency savings, or long-term financial security. In order to make a living in these counties would require a 73% increase in wages, and some counties would need an increase of up to 229%.
A third of the U.S. workforce earns less than $15/hour — and nearly a third of minimum wage workers are parents
Average salaries mask the financial difficulties that some parents face. The situation is even worse for families working at minimum wage jobs, which in many states is just the federal minimum: $7.25 an hour. A full timea year-round worker earning the federal minimum wage in the United States only earns $15,000 a year.
Statistics show that one in four children is raised in a single-parent family households. The United States has the highest rate in the world of children living in single-parent households, with a majority of these single parents being working mothers. The report also highlights structural financial issues, such as racism and sexism, as detrimental to the well-being of families.
“Women earn just over 80 cents on the dollar that men earn, and by comparison, the incomes of women living in rural areas and women of color remain among the lowest,” the report says. “To earn a white man’s average annual salary of $61,807, women of all races and ethnicities must work several more days or even months into the next year.”
Single parents spend almost a third to half of their income on childcare
For parents with children to work, there must be affordable access to child care, which is far from the reality in the United States. According to the US Department of Health and Human Services, the benchmark for affordable child care should not exceed 7% of total income. The report shows that for a married couple with a combined annual income of more than $100,000, parents pay nearly double the benchmark price for child care. A single mother with children will end up paying about 45% of her annual salary, or an average of about $30,681. For a single father with an average annual salary of $47,375, 29% of that amount will go to childcare.
Essentially, the report highlights that it is nearly impossible for many Americans to be able to afford to cover their most basic needs. The federal government could remedy many of these problems by adopting a more realistic minimum wage and by subsidizing and even making child care free for many more Americans.