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Fact File


In Northern Ireland there are nearly 92,000 lone parents with 150,000 children.

Between 20% and 25% of all families in Northern Ireland are one-parent families.


More vital statistics

  • 46% become lone parents due to separation or divorce (Census 2001)
  • 7% become lone parents due to bereavement (DHSSPS)
  • less than 3% of lone parents are teenagers ('A wise head on young shoulders ' Jena Muston - Gingerbread NI 1998)
  • 80% of lone parents are aged 25-49 years (Census 2001)
  • 60% of lone parents are in debt (Lone Parents Needs Assessment - NHSSB - Lynda Spence - Gingerbread NI 1996)
  • 75% of single parent households have no savings compared to 41% of all households in NI (Family Resources Survey 2004/05)
  • 67% live in rented accommodation (Census 2001)
  • 67% of lone parents live on an average of £ 156 per week (New TSN - the way forward)
  • 90% of lone parents wish to work outside of the home at some stage (DHSSPS)

For further Census 2001 figures follow the link to the Northern Ireland Statistical Research Agency

Pressures lone parents face


  • Stress
  • Social isolation
  • Negative attitudes in society
  • Low personal expectations
  • Stereotyping
  • Financial difficulties
  • Poverty and Debt
  • Economically disadvantaged by high fuel costs in NI
  • Find it difficult to finish /or continue education and training
  • Limited access to relevant training opportunities
  • Challenges with childcare provision - high cost and access
  • Poor health
  • Basics such as fresh vegetables and meat become a luxury
  • Complexity of Benefit and Tax Credit Systems