On National Single Parent Day this March 21, single parents get to take a break from constantly holding down the fort! Kick your feet up, get a babysitter, and think about all you do for your children. If you have support that’s not a partner, take some extra time to appreciate them and their help. If you’re not a single parent, show some love for your friends or family that are taking on the mammoth task of raising children by themselves.
History of National Single Parent Day
The number of single parents and causes for single parenting have changed greatly over the years. In ancient times, when medical science was not advanced, dangerous accidents frequently occurred, and epidemics spread through under-developed villages. As such, it was very common for children to have lost one or both parents by the time they reached adulthood. From an assumed statistic in the 17th and 18th centuries, it was estimated that ⅓ of all children growing up in villages in France or Spain had lost a parent.
While much of the causes for being a single parent was related to disease, war, or maternal death in childbirth in earlier times, this has shifted over the years. As divorce increasingly became an option for unhappy couples, single parents are now less often widowers and more often divorcees. However, with divorce, single parenting becomes complicated, as achieving full custody and becoming a single parent often involves lengthy and difficult court proceedings. Although many split custody, they are still considered single parents.
There are other ways of becoming a single parent, which have varied in prevalence over the years. For example, single-parent adoptions became available in the 19th century, and this has remained a reliable way, for women particularly, to be a single parent. In some countries, only women are allowed to adopt children as a single parent.
Today, there is a great range in the causes and prevalence of single parenting. In 2008, one study found that 30% of households with children were headed by a single parent, which is an increase from 1980 when this statistic was only at 10%. There has also been a significant disparity based on race noted among single-parent households — white and Hispanic single parent percentages are currently on the rise. According to a survey in 2011, an average of 7.5% of households are headed by a single parent.
National Single Parent Day timeline
It’s believed that in many European villages, at least ⅓ of children lost a parent to illness or accident during their childhood.
The percentage of households run by a single parent of all households with children is around 20%
A survey finds that nearly 30% of households with children are headed by a single parent — a 10% increase since 1980.
According to a survey of many developed nations, between 3 and 11% of households are headed by a single parent, with an average of 7.5%.
A study conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau finds that there is a dramatic difference in the percentage of single-parent families between varying races.
National Single Parent Day FAQs
Where is National Single Parent Day celebrated?
In the United States.
Are there other holidays on March 21?
Yes! March 21 is also National French Bread Day, World Poetry Day, and World Down Syndrome Day.
Are there other National holidays honoring parents?
Yes! Besides Mother’s- and Father’s Day, National Parents’ Day is on July 26, and July 30 is National Father-in-Law Day.
How to Observe National Single Parent Day
Give a single parent some extra support and love
This could look like anything from a spa gift card to homemade cookies. Get creative with how you honor your loved ones that are raising new life all by their lonesome. You could even offer your support in the form of babysitting or rides to school!
Post it up
Being a single parent is no joke, and they deserve the extra visibility this day gives them. If you know or have a single parent, post an appreciation picture for them with the hashtag #NationalSingleParentDay to honor their sacrifice. If you are a single parent, post in the name of self-love — you work hard!
Appreciate your support system
If you’re a single parent with a village behind you to help raise your babies, today is a great day to thank them. While a single parent’s task is huge, no one achieves anything alone. Think about who your support system is while you’re busy being your babies’ support system, and give them some love.
5 Fun Facts About Parenting
There’s a significant proportion of single mothers
Nearly a quarter of the children in America are born to a single mother.
Single parents work, too!
One survey found that the vast majority of single parents were gainfully employed, on top of raising a child — this includes 8 out of 10 single mothers and 9 out of 10 single fathers.
Single parentage differs by race
The two groups with the largest increase in single parentage are white and Hispanic families.
Single parents sometimes have financial assistance
Nearly ⅓ of all single-parent families live in poverty and receive some kind of government financial assistance.
They’re not always young
The average age for a single parent is 39 years old.
Why National Single Parent Day is Important
It honors single parents
At its core, National Single Parent Day honors the moms and dads who raise their children without any help. With a smile on their face, confidence, and bravery, they go about every day with a laundry list of tasks to do, yet still somehow manage it! It’s important to honor them whenever we can.
It affects a significant portion of the population
There are no less than 13.6 million single parents in the US who are raising 21 million children. In these staggering numbers, it’s clear that if you aren’t a single parent, you probably know one, or two. This day is important because it brings greater visibility to the experience of so many Americans.
It reminds us it takes a village!
No one achieves anything alone. While single parents find themselves running point on most of their children’s needs, there is never help far away. From grandparents, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles, and other helping hands in the community, many single parents are supported by a network of loved ones, if not a partner.
National Single Parent Day dates