[ Italiano ]
Press release

Lone mothers with minor children

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In Italy, in 2015-2016, there were 1 million 34 thousand lone parents with at least one minor child, 15.8% of the families with minor children. The percentage is on the rise: in 1983 the lone parents with at least one minor child were 468 thousand (5.5% of the total).

In 2015-2016 lone mothers with at least one minor child were 893 thousand and represented 86.4% of lone parents with minor children (they were 402 thousand in 1983). The number of lone fathers was much lower: 141 thousand in 2015-2016 and 66 thousand in 1983.

52.9% of lone mothers with at least one minor child had one child, 38.2% two and 8.9% three or more. For one third of lone mothers the youngest child was 5 years old or younger, for 42.7% of lone mothers the youngest child was aged between 6 and 13 years.

In 2015-2016 1 million and 215 thousand children aged 0-17 years lived with their lone mother, they were 12.1% of total minors. In 1995-1996 they were 5.3% (558 thousand children).

Between 1995-1996 and 2016 the percentage of lone mothers until 34 years with at least one minor child decreased from 31.5% to 20.3%, this is due to the progressive growth of the age at childbirth. Lone mothers aged 45-54 increased from 20.9% to 31.8%. The highest proportion was still among lone mothers aged 35-44 (45.3%).

57.6% of lone mothers with at least one minor child were separated or divorced, 34.6% were unmarried, 7.9% widow. Since 1995-1996, unmarried mothers have increased from 18.9% to 34.6% and widow mothers have decreased from 22% to 7.9%.

In 2016 63.8% of lone mothers worked, 24.4% were inactive, 11.8% were unemployed. Compared to 2006, the share of employees suffered a significant reduction due to the crisis (it was 71.2%).

The economic condition of lone mothers with at least one minor child was critical: 11.8% of lone mothers were in absolute poverty, 42.1% of lone mothers were at risk of poverty or social exclusion (58% in the South and Islands).

More than half of lone mothers could not sustain an unforeseen expenditure of 800 euros or a week’s holiday. Almost 20% was late in paying bills, rent and mortgage, and could not adequately heat the house.

Lone mothers with at least one minor child worked away from home more hours than mothers in a couple (47 minutes more per day) and they spent less time for family work (37 minutes less). They had a similar amount of free time as mothers in a couple (2 hours and 44 minutes a day).

88.5% of lone mothers were satisfied with their health condition, 84.5% with family relationships, 83.5% with friends, 54.6% with leisure time, 35% with economic conditions. Satisfaction levels were always lower than those of mothers in a couple for all dimensions of life and in particular for economic conditions.

In comparison to lone mothers, lone fathers with at least one minor child had fewer and older children. 186 thousand children 0-17 year old lived with their lone fathers, they were 87 thousand in 1995-1996.

44.9% of lone fathers were 45-54 years compared to 31.8% of lone mothers. Just over half had an upper secondary diploma or a degree, 77.1% were employed.

53.4% of lone fathers were separated or divorced, 29.3% were unmarried. The share of widowers was more than double than that of lone mothers.

For Informations

Mira Savioli
Tel: +39 06 4673 4841
Email: savioli@istat.it

Linda Laura Sabbadini
Tel: +39 06 4673 2249
Email: sabbadin@istat.it

Reference period: Years 2015-2016

Date of Issue: 19 April 2018