Work and lone parents

Graphs on this page:

Supporting information:

Key points

  • Around 55% of lone parents are working, up from around 45% a decade ago. 1
  • A further one in seven lack, but want, paid work, a much smaller proportion than in any of the regions of Great Britain.

Definitions and data sources

The first graph shows the proportion of lone parents aged 16 to retirement in each work status, namely working, unemployed, economically inactive but wanting paid work, and economically inactive and not wanting paid work.

The second graph shows how the proportion of lone parents aged 16 to retirement who lack, but want, paid work in Northern Ireland compares with the regions of Great Britain.  To improve its statistical reliability, the data is the average for the latest three years.

The data source for both graphs is the Labour Force Survey (LFS).  The data for each year is the average for the 2nd and 4th quarters, analysis by household type not being available for the 1st and 3rd quarters.

Lone parents are single adults with dependent children.  Single adults living with their non-dependent children are not included.

‘Unemployment’ is the ILO definition, which is used for the official unemployment numbers.  It comprises all those with no paid work in the survey week who were available to start work in the next fortnight and who either looked for work in the last month or were waiting to start a job already obtained.

The ‘economically inactive who want paid work’ includes people not available to start work for some time and those not actively seeking work.  The data is based on a question in LFS asking the economically inactive whether they would like paid work or not.

Overall adequacy of the indicator: medium.  The LFS is a large, well-established, quarterly government survey, designed to be representative of the population as a whole.  In a Northern Ireland context, however, the sample sizes are small.

1. Note that the estimated proportions jump around a bit from year to year because of small sample sizes.