Fewer single father families living in Islington

There are fewer single father families living in Islington compared to a decade ago, analysis of census data shows.

By Sonja Tutty, Data Reporter

A child plays
Photo: RADAR

There are fewer single father families living in Islington compared to a decade ago, analysis of census data shows.

Ahead of Father’s Day this weekend, Dad’s House, a UK charity supporting single fathers, said more support must be extended to lone male parents who often struggle to find flexible work and mental health support.

Data from the recent census shows there were 1,174 single dads in Islington when the survey took place in March 2021. Of them, 483 had dependent children aged under 16.

Overall, men accounted for 9% of lone parents in the area while single mums made up the remaining 91%.

The proportion of single fathers fell from 9.4% recorded in the 2011 Census.

Dad’s House founder Billy McGranaghan said there is often a different attitude towards single dads compared to single mums that can leave many fathers feeling unsupported and isolated.

“We have a lot of dads who move from full-time jobs to part-time jobs because employers aren’t as willing to offer flexible hours. And on part-time, people just can’t afford childcare,” he said.

“Things have gotten better than they used to be, but there still needs to be more support for dads,” he added.

He said mental health support is also key as the pressure and stigma surrounding single fathers can lead to a lot of anxiety and isolation.

Across England and Wales there were over 368,000 lone male parents in 2021 – up from 338,000 a decade prior.

However, the proportion of single dads decreased slightly from 13.6% of lone parent families in 2011 to 13.4% in 2021.

Victoria Benson, chief executive of Gingerbread, a charity for single parent families, said single parent’s face systematic unfairness in society.

Ms Benson said: “Single parents are often overlooked by policy makers and still experience stigma and judgment – as well as struggling financially, many feel isolated and alone and often feel overwhelmed.”

She added some dads in the charity’s networks say they struggle with feelings of guilt and loneliness which can make it harder to reach out for support from friends or family.

“We know that it can be lonely and hard being a single parent and often single dads are forgotten,” she said.

“We need to see better support available for all single parent families so they can thrive and not just survive.”

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