Press Release | One-Parent Families almost Four Times More Likely than Two-Parent Households to Live in Consistent Poverty – SILC

Press Release

One-Parent Families almost Four Times More Likely than Two-Parent Households to Live in Consistent Poverty According to new Survey on Income and Living Conditions

Government must do more to remove the barriers trapping thousands of lone parents and their children in poverty.

(Dublin, Wednesday 2nd February 2017) One Family – Ireland’s organisation for people parenting alone and sharing parenting – responds to the latest figures from the Survey on Income and Living Conditions (SILC) 2014 published today with alarm.  Individuals living in households where there was one adult and one or more children aged under 18 had the highest consistent poverty rate at 26.2%, an increase from 25% in 2014. This is compared to a consistent poverty rate of 7.7% for two-parent households, meaning that lone parents and their children are almost four times more likely to be living in consistent poverty compared to two-parent households.

Deprivation is the inability to afford at least two basic necessities, from a list of 11, such as going 24 hours without a substantial meal or being cold because parents are unable to afford to heat the home. Of those living in households with one adult and one or more children aged under 18, 57.9% suffered deprivation in 2015. This shocking evidence of poverty underlines concerns that these families are being left behind.

Karen Kiernan, One Family CEO, comments: “Yesterday’s SILC results reflect and amplify what we keep saying. People parenting alone tell us through our askonefamily helpline and our mentoring, counselling, education and other support services, that they live in constant fear on the knife edge of poverty. Despite many existing measures being taken with the stated aim of helping lone parents return to the workforce, it is clear that these families are not being lifted out of consistent poverty. Government is still not fully addressing the lived reality of these parents’ caring responsibilities.”

Valerie Maher, One Family Policy & Programmes Manager, comments: “These figures also show that 36.2% of lone parent households are at risk of poverty with only a 0.3% reduction in this figure since 2014, despite the implementation of the reform of the One-Parent Family Payment (OFP). This is compared to an at risk of poverty rate of 14.5% for two-parent households. While a welcomed partial reversal of OFP reform was announced in last year’s Budget, we also called for full restoration of the Income Disregard to support lone parents in work, more to acknowledge those who share parenting, and changes to Family Income Support (FIS) criteria, to help improve outcomes for vulnerable families. A defined education pathway for people parenting alone must also be introduced, and cross-departmental cohesion increased. A system that can be clearly understood and is less complicated is long overdue.”

One in four families in Ireland is a one-parent family. Research shows that a key contributor to children’s futures is not the structure of their families but living in consistent poverty.


About One Family

One Family was founded in 1972 as Cherish and celebrates its 45th year in 2017.It is Ireland’s leading organisation for one-parent families and people sharing parenting, or separating, offering support, information and services to all members of all one-parent families, to those sharing parenting, to those experiencing an unplanned pregnancy and to professionals working with one-parent families. Children are at the centre of One Family’s work and the organisation helps all the adults in their lives, including mums, dads, grandparents, step-parents, new partners and other siblings, offering a holistic model of specialist family support services.

These services include the lo-call askonefamily national helpline on 1890 662212, counselling, and provision of training courses for parents and for professionals. One Family also promotes Family Day every May, an annual celebration of the diversity of families in Ireland today (

This week  One Family launched the results of Ireland’s first national Shared Parenting Survey. The full report can be read here.

SILC 2015 results can be viewed here.

For further information, visit

Available for Interview

Karen Kiernan, CEO | t: 01 662 9212 or 086 850 9191

Further Information/Scheduling

Shirley Chance, Director of Communications | t: 01 622 9212 or 087 414 8511