Arizona Ranks High For Single-Parent Households

By Heather van Blokland
Published: Tuesday, July 26, 2016 - 7:12pm

Just over 468,000 Arizonans, or about one-fifth, live in a single parent household, according to the U.S.Census Bureau’s  American Community Survey released earlier in July.

Nationally, Arizona and New Mexico  rank highest in the western United States for single-parent households. 

Map below shows how state's rank of single-parent households compare to the average

Map of single parent households

Children living in single-parent households are more likely to need state and federal assistance to provide for general living standards, including childcare, the data showed.

Another burden? Rising utility bills during hot months.

“Summer is rough because of the utility cost. We see a lot of need for utility assistance in the summer,”  said Bruce Liggett, Maricopa County human services director.

Liggett said it’s poverty that drives the need for county and state services, not specifically the incidence of single-parent households, but agreed they do overlap.

“Single-parent families are disproportionately poor,” Liggett said. “We know that single-parent families struggle to make ends meet. We know that single-parent families are challenged more than two-parent families”.

La Paz and Apache Counties lead the state, both with 47 percent of its children living in single-parent households. Yavapai County has the fewest, at 33 percent. 

Maricopa County is at 34 percent.

Survey data also showed children living in single-parent homes are at higher risk for substance abuse, depression and suicide and negative health in general and demand general services

Liggett says Maricopa County offers several programs for low-income families with children, including Head Start and Early Head Start for early education. Crisis services help with medical bills and utility bills.