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‘Wellbeing of children in single parent families not negatively affected’: Gingerbread research

‘Single parenthood is more common than typically reported’

A new study conducted by Gingerbread and the University of Sheffield has found that children's wellbeing is not negatively affected by living in single parent households.

The report looks at the wellbeing of more than 27,800 households with children, understood as 'life satisfaction,' 'feelings about their family' and 'the quality of relationships with peers'. It finds no evidence that children who are living or have lived in a single parent household have a lower measure of wellbeing than those who have always lived in two parent families, scoring as highly or higher against those measures of wellbeing.

The report also finds that single parenthood is more common than typically reported. While the proportion of single parents has remained relatively stable over time at one in four families, around one in three families will have been a single parent family at some point during the course of the six years studied.

Rosie Ferguson, Gingerbread's Chief Executive, comments:

"Our report with the University of Sheffield debunks myths about single parent households and significantly, it shows that children are not negatively impacted if raised by a lone parent. What is most important to a child's wellbeing is the presence of positive relationships. We urge policymakers and researchers alike to do more to challenge popular stereotypes and reflect the dynamism of family life."

This study was carried out as part of the University of Sheffield's Crook Public Service Fellowship scheme.

To read the full report, click here.