Single Parents of Welfare State


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A presentation done as a part of our social & public policy studies at the University of Jyväskylä. The presentation examines the position of single parents in Finland, Germany and the United States. How well do the countries' social policies and practices regarding single parenthood fit in with Esping-Andersen’s typography of liberal, corporatist and social-democratic models of welfare state?

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Single Parents of Welfare State

  1. 1. SINGLE PARENTS OF WELFARE STATE The Position of Single Parents in Finland, Germany and United States
  2. 2. Indicators of Welfare Related to Single-Parent FamiliesFamily Type The partnership patterns are changing and the numberof single-parent families is constantly growing.Employment The parents’ employment status is statistically thesingle biggest poverty risk factor.Income Level/Poverty Rate Changes in poverty rates are a sign ofrelative success or failure of the welfare state.Gender Equality Most single parents are female in all the samplecountries and across the world.
  3. 3. Esping-Andersen: Welfare Regimes Poverty/ Employment Gender Social security Inequality Generally high Social- employment and High female employment Low RedistributiveDemocratic low facilitated by child care unemployment Lower levels of Low female employment employment; levels, with benefits toCorporatist Medium Earnings-related persistent encourage mothers to stay unemployment at home Emphasis on High part-time female High levels of means- tested employment, but lack of employment and benefits paid at Liberal High childcare provision limits low low levels and opportunities for full-time unemployment more recently in- employment work assistance
  4. 4. Hypothesis Based on the TypicalCharacteristics of Welfare RegimesHow do the selected sample countries perform in fulfilling thepurpose of welfare state? How do the countries’ policiescorrespond with Esping-Andersen’s typography of the regimes?Finland Expectation: High. Social-democratic regime should supportsingle-parent families with subsidies, supportive social policies anddaycare arrangements.Germany Expectation: Mediocre. The corporatist regime is likely toprovide good benefits for stay-at-home parents, but the social policiesare not expected to support mothers’ labour force participation.United States Expectation: Poor. Typically a liberal regime does notoffer any cash benefits, possibly some support for findingemployment. Childcare is likely to be expensive and inflexible.
  5. 5. Rate of Single-Parent Families in Sample Countries Finland Germany United StatesThere is a notable upwardstrend in the rate of single- 30parent families in almost everycountry. 22.5OECD estimates that this trendwill continue in all countries 15except Germany.Governments are forced to 7.5review their social policies toadjust to the changingpartnership patterns. 0 1992 1995 2000 2005 2008 2011
  6. 6. SOCIAL-DEMOCRATIC REGIME: FINLAND Income, Employment & Subsidies
  7. 7. Relative Child Poverty Rates in Finland Not counting transfer payments Counting transfer payments 70 52.5In Finland and Nordic countriesin general, poverty is not aproblem for the majority of 35families with two parents. 17.5 0 FISP FI2P DESP DE2P USSP US 2P
  8. 8. Finland: Employment of Single ParentsLabour-force participation in Employment rate of singleFinland differs from other parents & single mothersNordic countries: Single Parents Single Mothers Women’s labour force participation lower (72%) 100 No strong tradition of part- time work 80 60Subjective right to daycare forall children under 6 - reduced 40fees / free for low-incomefamilies. 2044 weeks parental leave 0 Mid-2000’s 2007entitlement
  9. 9. Finland: Specific Policies to Support Sole-parent families Work Income or Max rate of Reduced Name Eligibility testing / assett test payments amounts Conditional Supplement Cares for a EUR 46,60 in family child less None No per child per Not reduced allowance than 17 years monthFinland Cares for a Advance on EUR 129,91/ child less None No Not reduced maintenance month than 17 years
  10. 10. Attitudes Towards Single-Parents in Finland Agree marriage is an out-of-date institutionThe state’s treatment of A home with a mother and father not vitalunmarried parents, widows and Disapproves voluntary single motherhoodseparated parents affects the 50attitudes 40Mothers more likely to bequestioned about their choices 30than fathers 20A single parent who chooseshome care instead of workingwill easily be evaluated much 10more critically then one of theparents in two-parents families 0making the same decision.
  11. 11. CORPORATIST REGIME: GERMANY Income, Employment, Subsidies & Attitudes
  12. 12. Relative Child Poverty Rates in Germany Not counting transfer paymentsIn year 2000 lone parents’ Counting transfer paymentsmonthly net household income: 70 Lone-parent households €1777 euro 52.5 39% of single parents earn 35 < €1300/month ~50% of single parents 17.5 earn €1300-€2600 / month Couples with children €3499 0 FISP FI2P DESP DE2P USSP US 2P
  13. 13. Germany: Employment of Single Parents Employment rate of singleIn western Germany, only 16% parents & single mothersof kindergartens have all-day Single Parents Single Mothersclasses, while in the east thefigure is 71% 100Germany boasts the highest 80duration of the job-protectedleave entitlement of 162 weeks 60 40Paid time off for 4-week annualleave, 12 holiday days, paid 20sickdays for jobholder & childsickness. 0 Mid-2000’s 2007
  14. 14. Germany: Specific Policies to Support Sole-parent families
  15. 15. Attitudes Towards Single-Parents in Germany Agree marriage is an out-of-date institutionSingle parents are often A home with a mother and father not vital Disapproves voluntary single motherhoodconfronted with negativeimputations and reservations 50especially at work place 40However, they evaluate theirown situation mostly as positive 30They are less satisfied with their 20life in general than marriedparents 10They often need to rely on the 0help of family and friends Finland Germany
  16. 16. LIBERAL REGIME: UNITED STATES Income, Employment, Subsidies & Attitudes
  17. 17. Relative Child Poverty Rates in United States Not counting transfer payments Counting transfer payments 70If employed U.S. single mothers 52.5earned as much as comparablemen, their annual earnings 35would increase 17% and theirpoverty rate would fall by half. 17.5 0 FISP FI2P DESP DE2P USSP US 2P
  18. 18. United States: Employment of Single Parents Employment rate of singleHighest rate of single parent parents & single mothers in USemployment. Single Parents Single MothersThe federal government does 100provide some funding for childcare subsidies for low income 80parents, which improves singlemother employment rates. 60Only 12-week unpaid maternity 40leave entitlement. No other paidtime off for holidays or sick days 20- some companies provide paid 0leave voluntarily. Mid-2000’s 2007
  19. 19. United States: Specific Policies to Support Sole-parent families
  20. 20. Financial Assistance and Other Support Available for Single Parents in the USGovernment Local Financial assistance available for Financial assistance available if children under 18 on certain other parent fails to pay or pays conditions inconsistently Temporary Assistance for Needy Job training programs and Families program or TANF (not educational grants to aid single specific to single-parent families) mothers’ employment Food stamps The Section 8 program - financial assistance for housing costs Low cost health insurance for all children Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program
  21. 21. Attitudes Towards Single-Parents in United States Agree marriage is an out-of-date institution A home with a mother and father not vital Disapproves voluntary single motherhood Never-married custodial 50 mothers are viewed negatively in terms of personal characteristics and parenting 40 abilities. 30 Americans find it easier to accept other changes in family 20 structure (gay couples, cohabiting, interracial, working 10 mothers) than single motherhood. 0 Finland Germany US
  22. 22. CONCLUSIONSFinland, Germany & United States
  23. 23. ConclusionsFinland is not a typical example of Nordic countries, but roughly correspondsto Esping-Andersen’s social-democratic regime. Finland’s social policiesencourage labour-market participation of mothers of small children throughuniversal provision of social services and employee rights, extensivematernity leave systems and daycare services.US sole parent families have the highest poverty rate despite having thehighest rate of single-parent employment. This can be explained by single-parents typically holding low-wage jobs. The lack of basic economic securityand measures that would help balance work and family life put a great strainon single parents in the US.The main problem in Germany is the lack of child care arrangements. Alsothe nation’s attitudes are reflected in the policies: the system does notsupport single-parent family model. This ties in with Esping-Andersen’sdescription of the corporatial welfare regime model.
  24. 24. THANK YOU!Laura Browne, Ulrike Gansen, Anna-Kaisa Keinänen, Sari Leppänen, Satu Sironen, Lotta Tiihonen
  25. 25. Sources:Stephens, M & Fitzpatrick, S: Welfare Regimes, Housing Systems and Homelessness: How are they linked?  FEANTSA, 2007. Fetched 17.4.2013OECD Family Database. OECD, Paris, 2012. Fetched 17.4.2013Separation of divorce in the family. KELA website, fetched 17.4.2013. and Women in Finland 2011. Statistics Finland, 2011. Fetched 17.4.2013Perheet 2011. Statistics Finland, 2011. Fetched 17.4.2013Forssen, K., Laukkanen, A. & Ritakallio,V.: Demographic Trends in Finland. University of Turku, 2002. Fetched 17.4.2013Nielsen, J (Ed.): Single Parents in the Nordic Countries. Nordic Social-Statistical Committee, 2004. Fetched 17.4.2013Kröger, T. (Ed.): New kinds of families, new kinds of social care SOCCARE Project. European Commission, Directorate-General for Research, 2004. Fetched 17.4.2013Steiner,V. & Wrolich, K.: Introducing Family Tax Splitting in Germany: How Would It Affect the Income Distribution and Work Incentives? Institute for theStudy of Labor, 2006. Fetched 17.4.2013Despite Declining Birth Rate: More Children Living with Single Parents. Federal Institute of Population Research, 2013. Fetched 17.4.2013Falling Behind: Working Women in Germany Grapple with Limited Child-Care Options. Knowledge@Wharton, 2007. 17.4.2013Alleinerziehende in Deutschland –Lebenssituationen und Lebenswirklich­ keiten von Müttern und Kindern. Bundesministerium fur Familie, Senioren, Frauenund Jugend, 2012.,property=pdf,bereich=bmfsfj,sprache=de,rwb=true.pdf Fetched 17.4.2013
  26. 26. Sources:Mather, M: U.S. Children in Single-Mother Families. Population Reference Bureau, 2010. Fetched 17.4.2013Women and Poverty, Single Parents. Legal Momentum website. Fetched 17.4.2013Casey, T & Maldonado, L: Worst Off – Single-Parent Families in the United States, A Cross-National Comparison of Single Parenthood in the U.S. and SixteenOther High-Income Countries. Legal Momentum, 2012. Fetched 17.4.2013Hacke, C: Being a Single Parent: An Almost Impossible Balancing Act. Goethe Institut, 2010. Fetched 17.4.2013Single-parent Households, 10 Countries, Selected Years., fetched 17.4.2013. Census Bureau: Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2007 Fetched 17.4.2013CURRENT POPULATION REPORTS Projections of the Number of Households and Families in the United States: 1995 to 2010. U.S. Department of Commerce,Economics and Statistics Administration, BUREAU OF THE CENSUS, 1996. Fetched 18.4.2013Households and Families: 2000. US Census Bureau, 2001. Fetched 18.4.2013Doing Better for Families. Sole parents, public policy, employment and poverty. OECD, 2012. Fetched 18.4.2013 Better for Families. Child Well-Being and Sole-Parent Family Structure in the OECD: An Analysis. OECD, 2012., S; McGeorgeb, C & Stone Carlson, T: Attitudes Toward Never-Married Single Mothers and Fathers: Does Gender Matter? Journal of Feminist FamilyTherapy Vol 24, Issue 2, 2012. Fetched 18.4.2013Morin, R: The Public Renders a Split Verdict On Changes in Family Structure. Pew Research Center, 2011.