Divorce, being an unwed mother, having a surrogate, adoption by only one person, being widowed, artificial insemination and abandonment are all potential causes of being a single parent. The number of widowed parents falls far behind the other reasons as the cause of single parenting. This is in sharp contrast to the past, as this was once the most-prevalent cause behind single parenting.
These days, more and more people are making a deliberate choice to become single parents. According to the Population Reference Bureau, the two biggest reasons for single-parent households are unwed parents and divorce. The census from 2000 shows that nearly 28 percent of children in the United States lived in single-parent households. The PRB gives no numbers on the percentage of children living with a single parent due to adoption and lists the percentage of children living with only one parent due to death at 1.2.
There are single-parent families all over the world. Statistics for single-parent adoptions are slightly misleading since many places treat adoption by same-sex couples as a single-parent adoption. In these cases, the result is not a single-parent household but a two-parent household with one parent having the full custodial rights to the child.