Well-educated parents are more likely to stay together

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Household Survey, almost half of all homeowners live with children. Of them, one-third (16 percent of all homeowners) are incomplete families.

Of course, many factors influence this, and we are going to take a look at any statistical properties one can infer from the data at hand.

Do the parents’ education levels influence the likelihood of child growing up with both of them? That’s a tricky question, because there is an indirect relationship hidden here: more children stay with their mothers and at the same time, the majority among people with advanced degrees are men (though this majority is decreasing).

To remove gender asymmetry from the equation, we use separate percentages for both sexes in the following chart.

People living without spouses by sex and education

As you can see, most children in incomplete families do indeed live with their mother, irrespective of the parent’s education level. The one thing that is similar for both sexes, however, is that the more educated the parents are, the more likely their children are to grow up with both of them (though anything beyond a master’s degree doesn’t appear to make a difference). For well-educated parents, just slightly above 10 percent of all families are incomplete.

Percentage of incomplete families by state, CPS 2013

Louisiana, Mississippi and Arkansas are the only three states where incomplete families constitute over 20 percent of all households. In general, this percentage is slightly higher in southern states. Another noteworthy finding is that most of the states where lower numbers were registered also have lower population.



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About Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov

Andrey Kamenov, Ph.D. Probability and Statistics

Andrey Kamenov is a data scientist working for Advameg Inc. His background includes teaching statistics, stochastic processes and financial mathematics in Moscow State University and working for a hedge fund. His academic interests range from statistical data analysis to optimal stopping theory. Andrey also enjoys his hobbies of photography, reading and powerlifting.

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