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Wido Geis-Thöne IW-Trends No. 3 12. August 2019 The Life Situations of Mothers Transitioning Into and Out of Single Parenting

The fact that the circumstances of single-parent families are significantly less favourable than those of couple families is widely documented in the literature. However, two aspects of this phenomenon remain little explored: firstly, the extent to which the absence of the second parent in the household is responsible for these circumstances; and secondly, the fact that mothers in different life situations separate from their partners and enter into new partnerships after phases of single parenting with different degrees of frequency.

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The Life Situations of Mothers Transitioning Into and Out of Single Parenting
Wido Geis-Thöne IW-Trends No. 3 12. August 2019

The Life Situations of Mothers Transitioning Into and Out of Single Parenting

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The fact that the circumstances of single-parent families are significantly less favourable than those of couple families is widely documented in the literature. However, two aspects of this phenomenon remain little explored: firstly, the extent to which the absence of the second parent in the household is responsible for these circumstances; and secondly, the fact that mothers in different life situations separate from their partners and enter into new partnerships after phases of single parenting with different degrees of frequency.

The fact that the circumstances of single-parent families are significantly less favourable than those of couple families is widely documented in the literature. However, two aspects of this phenomenon remain little explored: firstly, the extent to which the absence of the second parent in the household is responsible for these circumstances; and secondly, the fact that mothers in different life situations separate from their partners and enter into new partnerships after phases of single parenting with different degrees of frequency. In the present paper, these transitions are examined using multivariate analyses based on the Socio-Economic Panel. There is a strongly negative correlation between household income and mothers changing from a couple family to single parenting. Such separations occur particularly frequently if the family has previously received long-term unemployment benefits or social assistance. This applies even when other aspects of mothers’ life situations – such as their educational level – are controlled for. On the other hand, mothers who are first-generation immigrants and mothers with larger families are particularly unlikely to switch to single parenting. Single mothers are more likely to enter into a new partnership in a joint household if they are averse to risk and their youngest child is under three years of age. Overall, the results suggest that the life situations of single parents have their roots in the time before the change of family status. The consequence for family policy is that in endeavouring to improve the lot of single parents it should take account not only of the effects of being without a partner but also of quite separate problem areas, such as a lack of job qualifications.

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The Life Situations of Mothers Transitioning Into and Out of Single Parenting
Wido Geis-Thöne IW-Trends No. 3 12. August 2019

The Life Situations of Mothers Transitioning Into and Out of Single Parenting

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Mothers Have Different Employment Desires and Employment-Related Norms
Wido Geis-Thöne IW-Report No. 28 11. August 2021

Mothers Have Different Employment Desires and Employment-Related Norms

In the last 20 years, the role models of mothers in Germany have changed to a great degree, as an evaluation of the Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP) shows.

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Wido Geis-Thöne IW-Trends No. 3 4. August 2021

Has the Negative Trend in Marriages and Attitudes towards Wedlock Come to an End?

In recent decades marriage has become less important. While in 1991 60.2 per cent of adults in Germany were married, in 2019 this was true of only 51.0 per cent. And with a fall from 79.7 to 60.7 per cent over the same period, the decline in the medium age ...

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