The Pittsburgh Foundation

Single Women Raising Children

Elise M. McClung and her daughter, Anasjae, now 11, at Grillin’ for a Cause, a fundraising cookout Elise organized for the Black and White Ball, which benefits families with emergency and ongoing needs. McClung is a single woman raising a child — a demographic category with about 30,000 members in Allegheny County and is a focus of our organizing principle, 100 Percent Pittsburgh.
Elise M. McClung and her daughter, Anasjae, now 11, at Grillin’ for a Cause, a fundraising cookout Elise organized for the Black and White Ball, which benefits families with emergency and ongoing needs. McClung is a single woman raising a child — a demographic category with about 30,000 members in Allegheny County and is a focus of our organizing principle, 100 Percent Pittsburgh.

In Allegheny County, about 77 percent of families living below the poverty line are headed by single women raising children. Across the region and state, thousands of such households may be living on incomes at 25 percent of the federal poverty level even when they’re receiving cash assistance from the government. In other households, women are working 40 hours or more a week, often at multiple jobs, and still bringing home below-poverty-level income.

Because of the systemic barriers that single women raising children encounter in our region, The Pittsburgh Foundation selected this population as one of the targeted focus areas of 100 Percent Pittsburgh research and grantmaking. A forthcoming study by the Foundation provides insights gathered directly from single mothers about the challenges that they face, the strengths that they rely on to navigate difficulties and recommended improvements to the services and systems that are meant to serve their families, but often leave them feeling that they are on a hamster wheel.

The study should be available by early 2019.

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