19 Oct

Single-Parent Family Poverty in 24 OECD Countries: A Focus on Market and Redistribution Strategies

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.

The Research Brief is available for download on the website of the LIS Research Center.

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.

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