Single-parent families and their high poverty rates remain a genuine concern in OECD countries. Much of the research has focused on “redistribution” through income taxes and transfers as an effective strategy to reduce poverty. In a new LIS Center Research Brief, Laurie C. Maldonado and I adopt this traditional approach, and then push forward a focus on “market” strategies that facilitate single parents’ labor market participation.
Our key findings include:
- Poverty rates of single-parent families based on market in- come are high in most countries.
- Redistribution is an effective strategy to reduce poverty among single-parent families.
- Single-parent employment rates are high.
- Single-parent employment rates are higher in countries with policies that facilitate parental employment.
- Employment significantly reduces the poverty rate among single-parent families.
- The Working Poor: even with employment, many single- parent families are poor.
- Many countries have child-related transfers that significantly reduce poverty among single-parent families.
Bottomline: Our findings suggest that, to reduce poverty among single-parent families, policy solutions should aim to both bolster their market income and to increase the effectiveness of redistribution.