"The motherhood wealth tax includes a motherhood wage penalty, restricted access to the wealth escalator, and, for single mothers, the financial burden of being a sole custodial parent. Until men and women share equal financial responsibility for raising their children, the gender wealth gap will persist.

Although fathers are increasingly seeking and being granted custody of children, 84% of custodial parents are mothers. As long as women are more likely than men to have custody of children, they will inevitably shoulder more of the economic burden of parenthood.

Never-married single mothers experience the most difficult situation, with 50% living in poverty. In comparison, 29% of never-married single fathers, 25% of divorced single mothers, and 14% of divorced single fathers live in poverty. Without a doubt, the economic costs of single parenthood are typically shouldered mostly by women. The burden of single parenthood is magnified by the fact that most custodial parents do not receive adequate child support. Less than half of all single parents receive the full child support due to them, and almost one-fourth of those awarded child support receive nothing.

And even when parents do receive child support, it often does not rise adequately with inflation and usually does not equalize the heavier financial burden placed on the custodial parent. Since women are more likely to have custody of children, they typically find that they must make ends meet without adequate financial support."
Mariko Lin Chang, Shortchanged: Why Women Have Less Wealthy and What Can Be Done About It

Notes

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