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Single Mothers’ Herculean Efforts Need Support from Mississippi Leaders   

In recent weeks, Mississippians have seen headlines and op-eds going back and forth about the economic costs of fatherlessness in Mississippi. While no family structure may look alike, one thing is indisputable: Strong, resilient mothers are the bedrock of family life in Mississippi by every measure. 

How many of us know single moms who work more than one job; who take multiple shifts at inconvenient hours because of child-care responsibilities; who navigate through a never-ending minefield of obstacles to sustain their family’s well-being; who tamp down their own distress while providing an example of persistent endurance, love and compassion to their children? 

In our state, single parents (mostly mothers) are raising nearly 50% of all children. In fact, Mississippi has one of the highest rates of children in single-parent families in the nation, the Annie E. Casey Foundation reports. By some estimates, Mississippi has the highest rate of single mom-headed households in all the U.S. Mississippi also has the second highest share of women living below poverty, and poverty is much higher in families headed by single moms. Families with school-age children in Mississippi experience some of the highest poverty rates in the nation, at 23.3% based on 2020 Census data. But in Mississippi’s single mom-headed families, the poverty rate doubles to an alarming 47.6%. This is not due to a lack of work.

The Mississippi Low Income Child Care Initiative is a statewide nonprofit public-policy advocacy organization focused on making child care affordable for low-income working moms, achieving gender and racial equity in the workforce, and making the safety net work for women to strengthen their economic security in Mississippi. Click on the image to learn more about MLICCI. Graphic courtesy MLICCI

The National Women’s Law Center reports that women are half of Mississippi’s workforce (about 49%), yet they are 2.6 times more likely than men to be in a low-wage job, and they are 71% of workers in the low-wage workforce. 

Single mothers’ work ethic is incredible and hasn’t wavered. Mississippi has one of the lowest overall labor-force participation rates in the nation (approximately 56%), but single mothers

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