There were 13.4 million
custodial parents in 2002.
In the spring of 2002, an estimated
13.4 million parents had custody of
21.5 million children under 21 years of
age whose other parent lived somewhere
else. About 5 of every 6 custodial par-
ents were mothers (84.4 percent) and 1
in 6 were fathers (15.6 percent), propor-
tions statistically unchanged since 1994
(Table A). Overall, 27.6 percent of all
children under 21 living in families had a
parent not living in the home.
More custodial parents worked and
participation in public programs
was lower in 2001 than in 1993.
Between 1993 and 2001, the percentage
of custodial parents employed in full-
time, year-round jobs grew from
45.6 percent to 55.3 percent. About
28.1 percent of custodial parents were in
the labor force working part-time or part-
year in 2001. Custodial mothers were
more likely than fathers to work part-
time, and their full-time, year-round
employment increased from 40.9 percent
to 52.3 percent in the 8-year span. The
full-time, year-round employment for
custodial fathers reached a high in 1997
(76.9 percent), before falling to 71.7 per-
cent in 2001 (Figure 1).
Rising employment rates of custodial
parents were accompanied by declines in
public assistance program participation,
which fell from 40.7 to 28.4 percent
between 1993 and 2001.1 While the rate
of program participation for custodial
mothers decreased from 45.2 percent to
31.0 percent during that time, it was still
about double that of custodial fathers in
2001 (14.9 percent). The proportion of
custodial mothers specifically receiving
AFDC/TANF fell greatly, from 25.6 per-
cent to 6.3 percent between 1993 and
2001 (Internet Table 4).
differed between custodial mothers
and custodial fathers.
About 31.2 percent of custodial mothers
have never been married (Table B). The
remaining ever-married mothers included
43.7 percent who were divorced or sepa-
rated and 25.1 percent who were cur-
rently married or widowed.
The majority of custodial fathers were