Wealth is a buffer against economic shocks and the intergenerational transmission of disadvantage. We investigate the wealth of single-parent households in six high-income countries that span a variety of institutional contexts and welfare regimes. Using household survey data, we show that single-parent households in all these countries are disadvantaged in the wealth they hold, compared to dual-parent households—more so in Great Britain, France, Germany, and the United States; and less so in Italy and, especially, Spain. We tease out major differences in types of wealth holdings in single- and dual-parent households. We find that the single-parent wealth deficit is not explained by differences in age or number of children but that it is influenced by education, income, homeownership, and receipt of intergenerational transfers. We discuss the policy implications of our findings, both in terms of how single parents are treated in social protection and taxation systems and, more broadly, in the supports they require if they are to overcome barriers to accumulating wealth.


Morelli, S., Nolan, B., Palomino, J. & Van Kerm, P. (2022). 'The Wealth (Disadvantage) of Single-Parent Households'. The ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, Vol 702, Issue 1.
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