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The rise of Single Parenthood in Contemporary Britain.

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Charlene Douglas Sociology Block A Mr Shields The rise of Single Parenthood in Contemporary Britain Sociology has given us insights into our understanding of the rise in single parenthood in Contemporary Britain. Single-parent families have become increasingly common in Britain. According to government statistics, in 1961, 2 per cent of the population lived in households consisting of a lone parent with dependent children, but by 1998 this had more than tripled to 7 per cent. According to Hantrais and Letablier (1996), Britain has the second highest rate of lone parenthood in Europe, and is exceeded only by Denmark, and rates in countries such as France, Greece and Portugal are much lower than those of Britain are. Children may start their life living in a single-parent family. However, the single parent may well find a new partner and marry them or cohabit with them. The child will then end up living with two parents. ...read more.


Now, the partners may chose to cohabit rather than marry and, if their relationship breaks up, they end up appearing in the statistics as a single, never married, parent. The absence of cohabitation does not necessarily imply that the parents do not have a close relationship some writers see the rise of single parenthood as a symptom of increased tolerance of diverse family forms. There are a number of reasons for supposing that the welfare state is not responsible for the increases. Some commentators don't believe that lone parenthood gives advantages to those seeking local authority housing. In 1993 John Perry, policy director of the Institute of Housing, said "I've not been able to find a single housing authority which discriminates in favour of single parents over couples with children. The homeless get priority, but there is no suggestion that a homeless single parent gets priority over a homeless couple". ...read more.


These studies have claimed that such children have lower earnings and experience more poverty as adults; children of mother-only families are more likely to become lone parents themselves; and they are more likely to become delinquent and engaged in drug abuse. The findings of such studies must be treated with caution. In a review of research in lone parenthood, Louise Burghess notes that some research in the relationship between educational attainment and divorce suggests that children in families where the parents divorce start to do more poorly in education before the divorce takes place. David Morgan does believe that the evidence suggests that the children of single parents fare less well than those from two-parent households. He qualifies this by saying that we still do not know enough about what causes these differences; as with the effects of financial hardship, the children would be affected by the stigma attached to coming from a single-parent family. It is very difficult to disentangle the direct and indirect effects on children of being brought up in a single-parent household and therefore dangerous to make generalisations about such effects. ...read more.

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