The percentage of children under age 18 living with two married parents declined between 1980 and 2002, from 77 percent to 69 percent. Despite this long-term decrease, however, the percentage of children living with two married parents has been relatively stable since 1995.
Between 1980 and 2002, the percentage of children living in mother-only families increased from 18 percent to 23 percent. During the same time period, the percentage of children living in father-only families increased from 2 percent to 5 percent. Over the past two decades, the percentage of children living without either parent remained stable at about 4 percent.
Black and Hispanic children are much less likely than are non-Hispanic white children to live with two married parents. In 2002, 38 percent of black children and 65 percent of Hispanic children lived with two married parents, compared with 77 percent of non-Hispanic white children under age 18. While the percentage of black children living with two married parents increased between 1995 and 2002, from 33 percent to 38 percent, that percentage among Hispanics and non-Hispanic whites was relatively stable.
Percentage of children under age 18 by presence of married parents in the household: selected years 1980 -2002
Note: The category "two married parents" includes children who live with a biological, step, or adoptive parent who is married with his or her spouse present. If a second parent is present and not married to the first parent, then the child is identified as living with a single parent.
Source: U.S. Census Bureau, March Current Population Survey and Federal Interagency Forum on Child and Family Statistics. (2003). America's children: Key national indicators of well-being, 2003. Washington, DC: Author.