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Requests from single parent(s) that can’t afford children

One thing we do here at needhelppayingbills from time to time is to try to sample where our requests for financial help, food, and more come from. We think what has stood out to us is the number of emails from single parents who need financial support and who are struggling. In fact, about 55% of the emails seem to be from single parents who are struggling. This is the result of 100 randomly sampled emails and is a rough estimate as the details can be challenging to get.

We have reported on the number of single moms that live in poverty and the children that are impacted. Our sample of requests also supports this figure, in that single parents (in particular mothers) often really struggle to pay the bills and care for their kids financially.

Now while I do not have children at this time, I do understand what the financial requirements are for raising one. It is somewhat cruel irony in that someone like me who could have always easily afforded kids (even set them on the path to retirement!) does not have them now. I am aware of others in similar situations.

Details of emails

First of all, our survey is very imprecise. Some emails do not provide enough detail and some may have conflicting information. Most are poorly written with many typos and errors in them, and we have also reported on how many emails are unprofessional so our results are not precise. Now while our site and the writing on our blog definitely has typos and grammatical errors, it is nothing compared to some of the emails we receive!

As indicated, about 55% of the emails seem to come from single parents. The vast majority are from females (single moms), as our demographicsfrom site users show. Now parents may be single for many reasons, and we try to break that down further. A parent may be single as they were never married or had a partner, the partner abandoned them, the partner passed away, divorce, or other reasons. This breakdown for financial aid is as follows, and this is also imprecise.

~45 of the emails seem to be from single moms, 10 from single dads. Sadly, as study after study shows women are not paid as much as males in the workplace (especially minority women), so this also causes additional financial hardship.

Out of the 55 emails from single moms or dads seeking assistance, we tried to break down the data further. This is once again imprecise.

• 38 of those seem to be from parents being divorced or parent partnership “ended”, including partner walked out, etc.
• 11 seem to be from the single parent having no partner to begin with and were unprepared for a baby, and may include young parents (mostly moms) such as in 20s or teens, accidental pregnancies, etc.
• 2 are from partners passed.
• 2 from partner arrested.
• 2 were just completely impossible to speculate and/or others.

As we have written about many times on this blog, the lack of financial literacy is this nation (and probably worldwide) is incredible. So many people do not know about saving, living with means, budgeting, and the like. Having a kid is a major undertaking of course in countless ways, one of the biggest being financial.

I in effect was raised by a single mom and there were tremendous struggles growing up. That is maybe one major reason why I know what the financial requirements are for raising kids. I have also learned much as I am a numbers, finance, investment person. It is very sad to me to see people who have kids and they just can’t afford to care for them in a proper way. So many people think having a child will make their relationship stronger or it will make them a happier person being a parent, and the facts are it is a very poor reason to have a kid to try to make yourself happier.

Heck, even if they have a kid and can’t pay for their future education at the time of the kids birth, that too is setting up the kid to maybe a life of debt from loans and/or lack of educational or career opportunities. Prospective parents need to think about the short and long term costs of raising a child, and they should also be mindful of it is more likely they will need to do that by themselves as most partnerships fail.

Lack of financial stability is one of the main causes of families struggling. In fact, arguments, stress and disputes over money is also one of the main reasons why relationships fall apart/divorces occur, and maybe why the child ends up being raised by a single dad or mom. In addition, disputes over money and the stress from that results is a unstable/chaotic/unhealthy environment also creates havoc for children who have to grow up in it.

While studies vary, the USDA estimates that it costs around $14,000 each year to raise a kid, or about $250,000 total before they are the age of 17. That is a USDA figure, but many experts actually dispute that amount and say the true cost is higher than 250K. That amount also of course varies by geography, as raising a kid in an expensive urban area such as Seattle, LA, NYC, Washington DC, etc. is much more expensive (and higher than that amount) then say some states in the central part of the country or Southeast.

When people have kids they can’t afford, it is the child that is often impacted. They may go without food (about 20% of children are food insecure), clothes, face homelessness and more. With roughly 50% of marriages ending in divorces as well, it is more likely than not that the parent (whether male or female) may end up being single with kids. The 50% in divorce is also low for this data, as too many people have kids before even being married, then one partner leaves the other causing financial hardship for the kid.

This is why it is so critical to not only to be able to pay the bills say as a 2 parent partnership, but before having a kid the parent(s) should also be much more financially stable with decent jobs, savings, retirement, etc. so that if/when the relationship ends (which is more likely than not), the child is not impacted financially. We see this everyday here at needhelppayingbills.com, and that is the kid(s) are the ones who often go without due to the struggles and/or poor financial decisions of their parents.


Jon McNamara is the CEO of needhelppayingbills.com, a company that he started in 2008 and that specializes in helping low income families as well as those who are in a financial hardship. He also found NHPB LLC, a company committed to helping the less fortunate. Jon and his team also provide free financial advice to help people learn about as well as manage their money. Every piece of content on this website has been reviewed by him before publishing and many of the articles he has personally written. Jon is the leading author for needhelppayingbils.

One thought on “Requests from single parent(s) that can’t afford children

  • November 22, 2019 at 12:18 am

    14K a year to raise a kid?? My son’s daycare is more than that. That number is definitely on the low end. Of course, some of the costs are optional (ie. lessons, gifts, etc), but daycare and health care are fixed costs. One kid is the way to go!


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