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Lone mothers in the nations of the South

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Households headed by lone mothers form an important subgroup of female-headed households, both of which seem to have increased in number in most parts of the South since the mid-twentieth century. Notwithstanding that inadequacies and inconsistencies of data preclude the establishment of precise trends, the entry addresses the various ways in which women become heads of household and/or lone mothers in different developing regions, and identifies the main reasons for their growing incidence. The latter include economic and demographic changes, such as migration and rising female labor-force participation, as well as social and legal factors such as the declining importance of marriage as an institution for childbirth, and widening access to divorce. The entry also evaluates the relevance of stereotypical portrayals of lone-mother households as bearing a disproportionate burden of poverty and as responsible for an intergenerational transmission of disadvantage to children. The article concludes with a review of the place of lone- mother households in social policy, and the benefits and drawbacks of targeting lone mothers in poverty alleviation programs. It also examines the prospects for further rises in lone-mother households in the twenty-first century.

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en

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http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/22705/

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