Racial Equity
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity, 2015-19


Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity, 2015-19

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?

The share of single-parent families increased for all racial and ethnic groups except Black or African American families, which remained constant at 57% in 2000 and 2015-19. The share of white families headed by single parents increased most, from 30% to 37%, followed by increases for Hispanic families (from 58% to 63%) and Asian families (from 22% to 27%). While Hispanic families had a larger percentage of single parents in 2015-19, there was a far larger number of white single-parent families (27,800 compared to 17,300 Hispanic families).

Compared to Essex in 2015-19, Massachusetts had slightly smaller shares of single parents among white (34%) and Hispanic (60%) families. The percentage of single-parent African American families was higher at the state level (63%), while the Asian share was quite a bit lower (19%). The U.S. had a substantially smaller percentage of single parents among Hispanic families (42%) than Essex, but a higher share among African American families (66%).

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 37% of white families were headed by single parents in Essex County, the rates were 28% in Lake, IL, 27% in Middlesex, MA and 25% in Westchester, NY. Essex County's rates for Hispanic and Asian families were also higher than all three comparison counties. The rate for African American families in Essex was more in line with Middlesex, and lower than in Lake (64%) and Westchester (65%).

Why do these disparities exist?

Research on family structure points to a variety of explanations about why more children of color are growing up in single parent households. These include high incarceration rates of men of color, economic strain, changing attitudes about marriage and the dismantling of Black families during slavery and its enduring influence on family structure.

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.

Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity, 2015-19
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Essex County, MA27%57%63%37%
Amesbury84%******N/A******0%******46%
Beverly22%******78%******45%******28%
Gloucester75%******82%******78%******27%**
Haverhill67%******36%******68%51%
Lawrence46%******62%**68%70%
Lynn45%**58%**54%38%
Methuen9%******67%******61%42%
Newburyport34%******0%******89%******26%**
Peabody40%******54%******66%****32%
Salem6%******64%******75%**44%
Andover5%******0%******55%******26%**
Boxford0%******N/A******0%******7%******
Danvers0%******62%******84%******36%**
EssexN/A******N/A******N/A******21%******
Georgetown0%******0%******30%******25%**
Groveland0%******N/A******0%******19%******
Hamilton0%******N/A******0%******14%****
IpswichN/A******100%******58%******35%**
Lynnfield0%******100%******100%******13%****
ManchesterN/A******N/A******N/A******23%******
Marblehead41%******62%******58%******33%**
Merrimac0%******N/A******N/A******24%******
Middleton0%******N/A******N/A******29%****
Nahant0%******N/A******N/A******55%**
Newbury0%******N/A******100%******41%****
North Andover0%******34%******64%******33%**
RockportN/A******N/A******0%******32%****
RowleyN/A******100%******N/A******21%******
Salisbury0%******N/A******33%******34%****
Saugus35%******100%******10%******40%**
Swampscott49%******49%******0%******29%**
Topsfield100%******N/A******0%******9%******
WenhamN/A******N/A******N/A******21%******
West NewburyN/A******N/A******0%******24%******
Middlesex County, MA18%55%48%27%
Lake County, IL14%64%36%28%
Westchester County, NY13%65%43%25%
Massachusetts19%63%60%34%
United States20%66%42%34%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%. 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.




Number of Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity, 2015-19
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Essex County, MA1,1233,00417,33527,847
Amesbury48******0******0******1,141
Beverly34******138******86******1,108
Gloucester140******92******104******726**
Haverhill98******132******1,9743,674
Lawrence66******617**7,2014,078
Lynn465**1,053**3,8291,822
Methuen26******152******1,6271,921
Newburyport28******0******86******510**
Peabody30******146******632****1,583
Salem9******186******713**1,362
Andover49******0******211******1,011**
Boxford0******0******0******81******
Danvers0******92******147******1,139**
Essex0******0******0******106******
Georgetown0******0******26******287**
Groveland0******0******0******146******
Hamilton0******0******0******147****
Ipswich0******74******48******600**
Lynnfield0******54******54******199****
Manchester0******0******0******155******
Marblehead26******52******198******973**
Merrimac0******0******0******221******
Middleton0******0******0******306****
Nahant0******0******0******209**
Newbury0******0******104******380****
North Andover0******55******266******1,269**
Rockport0******0******0******198****
Rowley0******48******0******159******
Salisbury0******0******13******328****
Saugus44******81******16******1,100**
Swampscott28******32******0******572**
Topsfield32******0******0******76******
Wenham0******0******0******111******
West Newbury0******0******0******149******
Middlesex County, MA5,0776,7168,12839,563
Lake County, IL1,3644,3908,68120,346
Westchester County, NY1,13913,81715,26419,413
Massachusetts11,66247,88368,231210,559
United States454,1993,674,8823,305,3839,457,632

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%. 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.




Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity, 2000
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Essex County, MA22%57%58%30%
Beverly35%62%29%28%
Gloucester0%0%52%33%
Haverhill7%63%48%38%
Lawrence38%51%59%51%
Lynn25%63%54%41%
Methuen0%26%59%29%
NewburyportN/A0%0%34%
Peabody40%53%76%26%
Salem43%47%63%38%
Andover11%55%33%17%
Boxford0%N/A0%12%
Danvers0%0%35%31%
Essex0%N/AN/A16%
GeorgetownN/AN/AN/A15%
GrovelandN/A100%N/A21%
Hamilton0%0%0%16%
Ipswich0%N/A0%27%
Lynnfield0%100%83%14%
ManchesterN/AN/AN/A28%
Marblehead0%0%N/A26%
MerrimacN/AN/AN/A29%
MiddletonN/AN/AN/A15%
Nahant0%N/AN/A24%
NewburyN/A54%0%26%
North Andover14%37%92%20%
Rockport0%N/AN/A27%
RowleyN/AN/AN/A18%
SalisburyN/A0%N/A37%
Saugus0%67%0%25%
Swampscott0%32%100%27%
Topsfield0%N/AN/A9%
WenhamN/AN/AN/A14%
West NewburyN/AN/AN/A15%
Middlesex County, MA15%56%42%25%
Lake County, IL8%61%27%21%
Westchester County, NY9%63%37%21%
Massachusetts18%63%54%29%
United States15%59%32%23%

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%. 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.




Number of Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity, 2000
AsianBlack or African AmericanHispanicWhite
Essex County, MA6171,8928,36625,912
Beverly3164201,406
Gloucester00331,292
Haverhill61364203,047
Lawrence1342554,8752,498
Lynn2561,1531,4903,145
Methuen0184711,534
Newburyport000822
Peabody46583171,528
Salem70835621,507
Andover401827749
Boxford000159
Danvers0061,078
Essex00062
Georgetown000177
Groveland0120214
Hamilton000189
Ipswich000477
Lynnfield02424231
Manchester000214
Marblehead000762
Merrimac000302
Middleton000155
Nahant00097
Newbury070268
North Andover342283747
Rockport000255
Rowley000148
Salisbury000436
Saugus0260774
Swampscott0838578
Topsfield00082
Wenham00075
West Newbury000109
Middlesex County, MA2,0244,8804,20941,071
Lake County, IL3595,2044,17617,272
Westchester County, NY62514,1608,65018,929
Massachusetts5,67638,44537,017208,897
United States212,8153,241,0351,722,0116,318,036

Source: U.S. Census Bureau
Notes: Multiyear results are from rolling American Community Survey. * Margin of error between 20% & 35% of estimate; ** margin of error between 35% & 50%; *** margin of error greater than 50%. 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.




INDICATORS TREND | ESSEX COUNTY
Prevalence of Overweight Adults Not Applicable
Early Prenatal Care by Mother's Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Preterm Births Increasing
Infant Mortality Rate Maintaining
Children with Elevated Blood Lead Levels Decreasing
Children Living in Poverty Increasing
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Child Abuse and Neglect Increasing
Disengaged Youth Maintaining
Live Births to Teen Mothers Decreasing
Youth Arrests Decreasing
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Establishments Increasing
Arts, Entertainment and Recreation Employment Maintaining
Tourism Spending Increasing
Voter Participation Rate Decreasing
Charitable Contributions Maintaining
Protected Land Not Applicable
Days with Good Air Quality Increasing
Beach Contamination Increasing
Daily Water Use per Resident Decreasing
Crimes Against People Decreasing
Crimes Against Property Decreasing
Drug-Related Arrests Maintaining
Reports of Domestic Violence Increasing
Incarceration Rates Decreasing
Recidivism Decreasing
Households Without Vehicles Maintaining
Means of Transportation to Work Not Applicable
Traffic Injuries and Fatalities Maintaining
Households With Internet Access Not Applicable
Change in Total Population Increasing
Change in Population by Age/Gender Not Applicable
People 65 or Older Living Alone Decreasing
People with Disabilities Maintaining
Households by Type Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families by Gender Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Foreign-Born Population Increasing
Language Diversity Increasing
Change in Total Jobs Increasing
Change in Jobs by Sector Not Applicable
Change in Average Salary Increasing
Change in Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Average Salary by Sector Not Applicable
Median Earnings by Occupation by Gender Not Applicable
People Entering/Leaving County for Work Not Applicable
Employer Size Not Applicable
Self-Employment Revenue Increasing
Unemployment Rate Maintaining
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Prekindergarten Participation Not Applicable
Female Enrollment in School Not Applicable
Chronically Absent Students Increasing
Per-Student Spending Increasing
Bullying Decreasing
Student Performance on Grade 3 Reading Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 10 English Language Arts Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 10 Math Not Applicable
High School Cohort Graduation Rate Increasing
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Not Applicable
Education Levels of Adults Not Applicable
Bachelor's Degree or Higher by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Income in Relation to Poverty Level Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income Maintaining
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income by Household Type Not Applicable
Living Wage Rate by Household Type Not Applicable
Households Receiving Temporary Assistance Maintaining
Households Receiving Federal Food Assistance Decreasing
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Earned Income Tax Credit Participation Decreasing
Economically Disadvantaged Students Increasing
Median Home Value Increasing
Housing Affordability for Homeowners Increasing
Housing Affordability for Renters Increasing
Homeownership Rates Maintaining
Homeownership Rates by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeless Persons Increasing
People Without Health Insurance Decreasing
Medical Care Expenses Increasing
Prevalence of Children with Asthma Maintaining
Prevalence of Overweight Children Maintaining
Diabetes Incidence Decreasing
Chronic Disease Among Older Adults Increasing
Cancer Incidence Decreasing
Cancer Mortality Rate Decreasing
Heart Disease Mortality Rate Decreasing
Mortality Rate Decreasing
People who Smoke Not Applicable
Use of Illegal Drugs Not Applicable
Youth Use of Illegal Drugs Not Applicable
Substance Abuse Treatment Admissions Not Applicable
Drug Overdose Mortality Rate Increasing
Prevalence of Mental Illness Maintaining
Suicide Rate Maintaining
Children Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Single-Parent Families by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Change in Population by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Unemployment Rate by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 3 Reading Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 8 Math by Student Group Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 10 English Language Arts Not Applicable
Student Performance on Grade 10 Math Not Applicable
High School Cohort Graduation Rate by Student Group Not Applicable
Bachelor's Degree or Higher by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
People Living in Poverty by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Median Household Income by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Participation in Food Assistance by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable
Homeownership Rates by Race/Ethnicity Not Applicable