The 10 Best (and Worst) Cities For Single Moms

Single moms are not alone — there are 10 million of them, and they account for 25 percent of US households. (Single dads, by comparison, make up just six percent of the national demographic.) Yet, it’s no surprise that single mothers often have it the hardest: their families are more likely than single-dad units to live in poverty, with child care costs that exceed the cost of rent in every state taking a major cut into their earnings. What is unexpected, however, is that where these unattached mothers live has a significant impact on their family’s well-being.

A large scale study was conducted analyzing employment statistics, housing data, average babysitting fees, day care population ratios, and playgrounds per capital — of the 150 largest US cities to determine where single women could find such “key indicators of an ideal environment” . . . and where they couldn’t. Some cities like Los Angeles and Detroit fell short, while other towns, including San Francisco and even Honolulu, fit the bill. The Arizona city of Scottsdale, in fact, was deemed the very best place for single moms to live.


The 10 Best Cities For Single Moms

  1. Scottsdale, AZ
  2. Madison, WI
  3. Fremont, CA
  4. San Francisco, CA
  5. Seattle, WA
  6. Pembroke Pines, FL
  7. Irvine, CA
  8. Honolulu, HI
  9. Sioux Falls, SD
  10. Overland Park, KS

The 10 Worst Cities For Single Moms

  1. Oxnard, CA
  2. Santa Ana, CA
  3. North Las Vegas, NV
  4. Laredo, TX
  5. Newark, NJ
  6. Los Angeles, CA
  7. Stockton, CA
  8. Detroit, MI
  9. Fresno, CA
  10. San Bernardino, CA

Overall rankings certainly matter (the complete list can be found at WalletHub), but single moms will want to see how their particular city fares on the individual categories most important to them. Some highlights:

  • Gilbert, AZ, has the highest median annual income for single moms (adjusted for cost of living) at $46,856, which is four times higher than in New York, the city with the lowest, $12,698.
  • For those most often in need of a babysitter, San Francisco’s caregivers have the steepest hourly fee of $18.50, which is much pricier than the $12.50-per-hour wage for sitters in Fort Wayne, IN.
  • Worcester, MA, is the city with the fewest moms lacking health-insurance coverage, while Brownsville, TX, has 12 times more without it.
  • Brownsville also has the highest percentage of any city for single moms with children living below poverty level.
  • When it comes to the prevalence of day cares, St. Louis, MO, has by far the most with nearly seven for every 1,000 children. That’s 16 times more than what’s available to kids in North Las Vegas, NV.
  • Single moms in Irvine, CA, are seven times more likely than those in Cleveland, OH, to have at least a bachelor’s degree.

In the end, if a single mother happens to be living in Fresno, it doesn’t mean she’s out of luck. According to the site’s sociology expert, professor Lori L. Martin, there are always more factors to consider, regardless of one’s city of residence: “While households headed by single mothers are relatively disadvantaged when compared with other household types, they are by no means homogeneous. Single mothers are not equally disadvantaged.”

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