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For decades, single-parent households have been on the rise. According to data from the U.S. Census Bureau, nearly one out of every four families with children under 18 is headed by a single parent. Single-parent households face a unique set of challenges, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated many of these.

Growing up, I was blessed to have both of my parents together until my mother’s passing, however, both of my parents did work full-time. We use to go to a daycare facility, however now with daycare closures and remote schooling are harder on single parents, and sole-earner households are more vulnerable to job losses. Nationally, Census Bureau data shows that single-parent household income is, on average, just 36% of dual-parent household income, but this ratio varies widely by location.

Compared to several decades ago, children under 18 are more than twice as likely to live with a single parent (either mother or father). In 1968, only 12% of children lived with a single parent, most often their mother. Single-father households were extremely uncommon, with just 1% of kids living with a single father in 1968. By 2020, 25% of kids lived in single-parent households, and the share of kids who lived with a single father quadrupled to over 4%. Additionally, the proportion of children under 18 who live with other adults (relatives or non-relatives) has also become more common.

To find the best-paying metros for single parents, researchers at Self analyzed data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Bureau of Economic Analysis. Researchers ranked metro areas according to the single-parent household income ratio, calculated as the ratio of the median income for single-parent households to the median income for dual-parent households. Researchers also calculated the median income for single-mother households, single-father households, the percentage of families with a single parent, and the relative cost of living. To improve relevance, only metropolitan areas with at least 100,000 people were included in the analysis. Additionally, metro areas were grouped into the following cohorts based on population size:

  • Small metros: 100,000–349,999
  • Midsize metros: 350,000–999,999
  • Large metros: 1,000,000 or more

Here are the best-paying large metropolitan areas for single parents: 

Metro Rank Single-parent household income ratio The median income for all single-parent households The median income for single-mother households The median income for single-father households The median income for dual-parent households Percentage of families with a single parent Cost of living (compared to the national average)
Salt Lake City, UT 1 47.7% $48,200 $47,000 $59,000 $101,100 16.7% -1.4%
Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA 2 47.6% $40,000 $36,150 $50,300 $84,000 21.5% +7.3%
Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford, FL 3 47.6% $40,000 $36,200 $55,000 $84,000 22.6% -1.0%
Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, NV 4 47.1% $39,600 $35,000 $50,000 $84,000 27.3% -3.1%
Phoenix-Mesa-Scottsdale, AZ 5 45.7% $42,000 $39,100 $57,000 $92,000 22.6% -1.3%
Los Angeles-Long Beach-Anaheim, CA 6 45.1% $44,800 $40,400 $69,300 $99,400 20.8% +18.8%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach, FL 7 44.0% $36,900 $33,400 $60,000 $83,770 28.7% +11.7%
Tucson, AZ 8 43.6% $37,500 $35,000 $40,800 $86,000 26.1% -6.9%
Portland-Vancouver-Hillsboro, OR-WA 9 42.9% $48,000 $41,800 $77,500 $112,000 19.8% +5%
San Diego-Carlsbad, CA 10 42.6% $48,100 $41,000 $78,200 $113,000 19.7% +17.9%
Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington, TX 11 42.2% $41,900 $36,000 $67,000 $99,400 22.5% +1.2%
Nashville-Davidson–Murfreesboro–Franklin, TN 12 41.5% $40,700 $37,110 $49,200 $98,000 23.9% -5.6%
Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV 13 41.4% $60,000 $55,000 $85,000 $145,000 21.4% +17.4%
Sacramento–Roseville–Arden-Arcade, CA 14 39.5% $43,200 $40,200 $47,800 $109,500 20.9% +5.2%
Jacksonville, FL 15 39.2% $36,100 $35,000 $49,500 $92,000 26.7% -4.6%
United States 36.4% $36,000 $32,000 $54,100 $99,000 24.2% N/A

For more information, a detailed methodology, and complete results, you can find the original report on Self Financial’s website here.

Alexis Zarycki is your average girl with the hopes of leaving an everlasting impact on the world. Follow her on Instagram @official_lexpaige