Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity
What does this measure?
The percentage of single-parent families with children, as a percent of all families with children under 18, by race/ethnicity.
Why is this important?
Children in single-parent families are far more likely to grow up in low-income households than those living with two parents. They are at greater risk of low academic performance and behavioral problems and may experience parental conflict and residential instability as well.
How is our county doing?
In Essex County, 61% of Hispanic families, 55% of African American families, 28% of white families and 17% of Asian families with children under 18 were headed by single parents in 2010-14. This is similar to the statewide and national figures for all groups except Hispanics, which had a lower national rate of 40%. Also, Essex County's rate for African American families was somewhat below state and national rates of 62% and 64%.
How do we compare to similar counties?
Essex County generally had higher rates of single-parent families among the various groups than the comparison counties. For example, while 28% of white families were headed by single parents in Essex County, the rates were 21% in Lake, IL, 20% in Middlesex, MA and 19% in Westchester, NY. Essex County's rates for Hispanic and Asian families were also higher, while the rate for African American families was more in line with similar counties.
Notes about the data
The multiyear figures are from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. The bureau combined 5 years of responses to the survey to provide estimates for smaller geographic areas and increase the precision of its estimates. However, because the information came from a survey, the samples responding to the survey were not always large enough to produce reliable results, especially in small geographic areas. CGR has noted on data tables the estimates with relatively large margins of error. Estimates with three asterisks have the largest margins, plus or minus 50% or more of the estimate. Two asterisks mean plus or minus 35%-50%, and one asterisk means plus or minus 20%-35%. For all estimates, the confidence level is 90%, meaning there is 90% probability the true value (if the whole population were surveyed) would be within the margin of error (or confidence interval). The survey provides data on characteristics of the population that used to be collected only during the decennial census. Data for this indicator are released annually in December.
The Census Bureau asks people to identify their race (white, African-American, etc.) separate from their ethnicity (Hispanic or non-Hispanic). So the totals for these categories cannot be added together, as people show up in both a racial and ethnic group.