For how long have people been single parents?
In 2011 in Metropolitan France, 1.5 million families were composed of one parent without a spouse and living with at least one minor. In 85% of cases, the parent is a woman. These single-parent families remain so for 5.5 years on average. The time for single parenthood is lower for separated parents (4.5 years on average) or where the spouse has died (5.5 years), and higher for parents who have never been in a couple (10 years). Single mothers live in this set-up for a longer time than fathers: respectively 5.6 years and 4.2 years on average. This difference is partly because one single mother out of six has become a mother by having a child without being a couple, a situation which is rarer among fathers. Parents with no qualifications are in single-parent families for longer than others: 24% of women and 15% of men at the head of single-parent families are have been in this situation for more than ten years when they have no qualifications versus 14% of women and 7% of men when they are higher-education graduates.