The problem single income families face


Danika Shane

Student displays empty pockets to demonstrate the financial struggles single income households may face

Raising a family is costly. There are expenses to consider during each stage of a child’s life, such as field trips, sports and extracurricular activities, health insurance, car insurance, test fees, increased cost of living, and college. According to, the average cost of tuition at a private college is close to $35,000 per year.

   In a household with two incomes, these expenses can be split or covered through a combined salary. However, single-income households are a different case. The CNBC website reported that the average American makes an annual income of  $50,000. Based on these statistics, single income families struggle more than the household of a couple making six figures.

As recorded by The Pew Research Insitute, only one-third of children in the United States are living with an unmarried parent and about 39% more single income families are living below the poverty line than two-income families. In situations such as these, the children learn to work for what they have– teaching them to value things that they don’t need to survive.

“Birthdays are way more meaningful to me, in my opinion, because I usually get a little bit of money to get something that I want, and not need,” said Diego Torres, senior at Taylorsville High School. “Meanwhile my friend would complain to me saying things like, ‘Oh, my dad didn’t want to buy me these $600 shoes.’  So yeah, I would say that growing up has been very different than a typical [two-income] household student.”

There are several reasons that a household might be run by a single figure including divorces, someone passing away, and a change in guardianship. Due to these reasons, single income households also have additional expenses like custody battles and spouse funerals.

Even though some individuals make more than others and can afford to support a family by themselves, they may still be dealing with other difficult situations.

Soraya Vasquez, former student at Granger High School, said, “I got separated from my siblings because they live with my mom. So I think that was the most difficult part because now I only see my sister once or twice a year at most.”

The stress of one not seeing their parents together, or missing a parental figure, is also a  factor for the kids in a single income household. “You know, it’s kind of hard,” said Liam Ottley, senior at Taylorsville High School, “It’s kind of weird not seeing your parents together.”

Overall, according to The Pew Research Institute, 24 million U.S. children younger than 18 are living with an unmarried parent and the likelihood of a child spending part of their life in a single income household is on the rise.