Living Arrangements of Children

Sometimes people will ask me how important it is that churches go out of there way to minister to children of divorce. Sometimes they will say,

Divorce just isn’t a big issue where I live or in my church. It just doesn’t seem like a good use of our church funds.

In response, I usually do two things. First, I ask them if they know how many children in their children’s ministries come from divorced homes. Very few have any specific information on this. Secondly, I point them to the national statistics which show that four in ten children live in a household with something other than their married biological parents (as shown in the following chart).


These statistics mean that if you have a small group in your children’s ministry of five children that statistically two of them do not have married biological parents at home.  It is naïve at best to assume that the issue of children of divorce is not relevant to your church.

If you are interested in a more local view of these statistics, you can go to the American Fact Finder on the U.S. Census Bureau website to find the number of children in your local area.  In the “topic or table” box enter “QT-P2: Single Years of Age and Sex: 2010.”  In “state, county or place” enter your local area (either by county or city) and select from the list.

This should return two results.  Both are summary files from the same underlying data.  You will want to choose “2010 SF1 100% Data” which is Summary File 1.  Summary File 2 eliminates any groups with under 100 people.  From the resulting data, you can add the total number of kids from 0 to 17.  You can then use the national percentages above to estimate the number of kids in your area living in each arrangement.

I have created an Excel spreadsheet which you can use to accumulate the information and do the calculations for you.  It is a spreadsheet I used to estimate numbers of children not living with their married biological parents in and around the suburb where my church is located.  You can download it by clicking on the Excel icon to the right.