Family Structure and Poverty in the West Coast States

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Consistently across the west coast states, single mother families represent about one-fifth of all families with children, and single father families represent about 7% in 2009. The remaining families with children (72% to 74%) are married couple families.

Families with only one parent and, consequently, only one wage earner (in most cases) were more likely to be poor than other types of families in 2009. Poverty among single mothers remains particularly high. As shown in the graph below, between 4% and 6.3% of married couple families are poor in the west coast states, compared with between 25% and 30% of single mother families.