The Public Interest

What Europe does for single-parent families

Alfred J. Kahn & Sheila B. Kamerman

Fall 1988

FEMALE-HEADED, single-parent families have more than doubled in numbers and as a proportion of all families with children in the United States since 1970. They are a major component of the “feminization of poverty” and of child poverty, and they are at the heart of the welfare conundrum. These demographic trends are shared with West Europe, but the societal responses have been, for the most part, extremely different. As we struggle to develop our own policy responses, it will be instructive to see what European countries have done.

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