SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — Being a single mother is a challenge in itself, but according to a new report, it’s estimated that 3 out of 4 single-mother households in Massachusetts don’t earn enough to pay their bills and raise their children.
The gap between what a person makes and the cost of living is getting wider. Living expenses are up, wages are stagnate and jobs now require higher education and skill levels.
The local YMCA is more than just a gym, it also offers child care services for many single moms, and according to President and CEO Kirk Smith, 50% of their members are on some type of scholarship assistance.
“Just about all of our moms that are single mothers, struggle financially,” Smith states.
Research by Crittenton Women’s Union found that the median income for a single mom in Massachusetts is just over $27,000.
Their website has a calculator where you can enter your city and number of children to find out what you would need to earn annually to support them.
In our area, a single parent with one preschool-age child needs to earn just over $40,000 annually to pay for food, housing, transportation, child care and other expenses.
A figure Smith says is low. “If you were to bring together a bunch of our mothers and told them that, they’d probably laugh at you,” he said.
Smith adds that society has a responsibility to these moms and the children they are raising.
“First and foremost we need positive environments. I always say your environment will always win out. Whoever you hang around is what you will be. Period. So we need to figure out ways to create opportunities to attract our mothers to get involved with programs,” Kirk explained.
Single mothers are not the only ones experiencing the gap between what they earn and the cost of raising their family. Crittenton estimates that 4 of 10 two-parent homes in the state also do not make enough to make ends meet.