The Pittsburgh Foundation

Single Women Raising Children

Brandi Lee is a single mom to Aaron, 11, and McKinley, 5. Both boys like to go to the Carnegie Library in the West End and to a nearby park where they can play basketball. Lee 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.
Brandi Lee is a single mom to Aaron, 11, and McKinley, 5. Both boys like to go to the Carnegie Library in the West End and to a nearby park where they can play basketball. Lee 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 72 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 study, linked below, and published by the Foundation in January 2019, 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. Read the news release about the study. 

Research Report: A Qualitative Study of Single Mothers In Allegheny County

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