FROM the new Maryland "Kids Count Factbook":
"There have been profound changes in family composition over the past three decades. These changes came as a result of more women working outside the home, diminishing employment opportunities for young people, declining family wages and changing attitudes about marriage and family structure.
"More children live with one parent [in 1990, as compared to 1970 and 1980]. Although most children lived with two parents, one in five children lived in a single-parent family in 1990. The greatest growth in children living in single parent families occurred between 1970 and 1980; the number of single in single-parent families increased 38 percent between 1970 and 1980 and only 8 percent between 1980 and 1990. The increase in single-parent families has significant implications. Single-parent families has significant implications. Single-parent families, particularly those headed by women are much more likely to be poor than two-parent families. Single parents are much more likely to be poor because they only have one breadwinner; women tend to earn far less than men, and child support by absent fathers usually contributes little to the income of single-parent families.
"An increasing number of out-of-wedlock births and divorce rates have contributed to the number of children living in single-parent homes. In 1989, one-half of divorces in Maryland involved children and one in three births were to a single woman. African-American children were less likely than white or Hispanic children to live in two-parent families in 1990. Four in 10 African-American children in Maryland lived with two parents, compared with eight in 10 for white children and seven in 10 for Hispanic children."