However, today, many countries only allow women to adopt as a single parent, and many others only allow men to adopt boys. Nonetheless, as adults children of divorcees cope better with change. In some countries, including the United States and Japan, nearly all single parents work; in others, like Malta and Turkey, most single parents do not have jobs.
We know little about how feelings in time with children are shaped by the context in which parenting takes place. An offsetting advantage, however, is that population-level data are less susceptible to selection effects than are individual-level data.
Unmarried mothers are also more likely than married mothers to have physical and mental health problems, and probably less likely to have habits or skills that help children escape from poverty. State level data on these outcomes have been available since the early s.
This trend should not have major implications for our analysis. In addition, single mothers receive less social support and experience greater strain than married mothers Edin and Kefalas ; Amato Kalil et al.
The difference between the two estimates reflects the fact that married mothers often separate, divorce, or less often become widows, while unmarried mothers often marry or remarry. Exactly what it means to be a single parent — for your lifestyle and how you spend your time — varies greatly by country.
Regression models with state and year fixed effects revealed that changes in the percentage of children living with single parents were not associated with test scores.
Divorced from time use, such assessments are more sensitive to long-term aspirations, relative position, and notions of what is socially desirable Kahneman and Krueger ; National Research Council