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Child material deprivation in single-parent households in Spain:

Do gender and disposable household income have an influence?

Almudena Moreno, Valladolid University; Diego Dueñas, Valladolid and Alcalá Universities
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The global level of child material deprivation in single-parent households is analysed, according to whether the reference person is a man or a woman, and to the household available income. The results obtained show an even overall level of child material privation, although it is confirmed that men and women do not share the same willingness to cover certain basic needs for their children.
Key points
  • 1
       Single-parent households have a higher level of child material deprivation than traditional family households.
  • 2
       Single-parent households headed by men present a level of child material deprivation similar to that of those headed by women.
  • 3
       Disposable household income is a more significant determinant than parental gender in child material deprivation levels.
Level of child material deprivation by disposable income and by gender of head of single-parent household
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The higher the disposable household income, the lower the level of child material deprivation. However, this relationship is not progressive or linear, as the percentages obtained for both genders in the lowest income tercile considerably exceed the corresponding percentages in the medium and high terciles, in which the percentages are close to or lower than 5%. It can be affirmed, therefore, that annual disposable income is a variable that conditions child material deprivation to a greater extent than the gender of the head of the single-parent household.

Child material deprivation level is understood as the economic limitations faced by an individual or a family – according to their incapacity, rather than choice – to be able to afford certain extra expenses that affect children’s living conditions.

Differences between averages of child material deprivation by gender of the head of the single-parent household

The difference between the child material deprivation average in single-parent households headed by the father (12.37%) and by the mother (13.82%) is not significant from a statistical viewpoint. However, different percentage values exist in questions such as those relating to household security or the possibility of enjoying a week of holidays with the child (higher in female-headed single-parent households), or the non-existence of noise in the home, having an Internet connection, having leisure time to be able to play with friends and invite them home (higher in male-headed single-parent households). These disparities could indicate a certain heterogeneity in the preferences and tendencies of men and women in the distribution of the family budget.

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