As of 2009, more than half of all children born to women under 30 in the United States were born to unmarried women. The story of the single mother is fast becoming the story that defines our country. According to the United States Census, there were 10 million single mothers living with children under 18 in 2011. One in four of every household with children under 18 is headed by a single mother. Although many politicians have defined themselves in part as raised by a single mother, relatively few have been that mother. Not every single mother struggles to find child care, works low wage jobs to support a family and hovers just one piece of bad luck away from catastrophe. But few single mothers have any difficulty understanding that life.
There are plenty of single fathers out there, and single father politicians as well. But at this moment in history, a person’s likelihood of having spent time in the trenches of working single parenthood is partly determined by gender, and women outnumber men there by at least 3 to 1.