The New Lipstick Economy: One-in-five Moms Have Kids With Multiple Dads

May 16, 2011 § 2 Comments

I live in Nashville, Tennessee where recent Census data shows only one in three homes are composed of married couples.  In fact, marriage rates have been declining for some time.  Nationally, the marriage rate dropped 14 percent from 1998 to 2008.  And in the wake of these shrinking marriage facts is a growing population of  one in five single Moms with children from different birth fathers.  Or as some of the students at a non-profit program where I volunteer would say:  Kids with different baby daddys!

The study from Cassandra Dorius, a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research, found that women with children from multiple fathers tend to be disadvantaged compared with other moms, with problems of underemployment, lower incomes and less education.  It also seems that this type of household is under more stress because of the juggling and interaction with more than one dad, sets of grandparents and aunts and uncles. Not all are children born out of wedlock; forty-three percent of the women with children with multiple dads were married when their first babieswere born.

This multiple-father type family is more common among minority women, with 59 percent of African-American mothers, 35 percent of Hispanic mothers and 22 percent of white mothers reporting children with more than one father.

I agree with one writer that there are never studies on the men.  Where is the study on Baby Daddies With More than One Child by Different Moms?  Now that’s the report that I really want to read.

I often talk with my friends at the non-profit organization CWJC , and I see their struggles with raising these multiple father children.  We pray constantly for cars that will make it one more week, more convenient bus routes, housing needs, food needs and jobs.  The recession has decreased the number of even minimum wage jobs these women can qualify for. These women are not lazy – they get up before dawn to shuttle kids to school, ride buses to work and struggle to keep their children in clothes and food.  They want better jobs, more education and a better future for their children.

What is the answer?  The haves and have-nots gap seems to be growing, and what was once considered non-traditional is the norm.   More research shows that many educated women are waiting later to be married and deferring childbirth to later in life, or not at all.  These women are spending time on education and careers before settling down.

The message for marketers is that Moms come with a lot of needs and stressors that are not reflected in the nuclear family of the 50’s Father Knows Best.  It’s a new day and marketers need to understand what these single Moms are going through.



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