Latina Single Moms Healthier Than Most

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Single mothers suffer poorer health than married moms, according to a new study conducted by sociologists at Ohio State. Researchers, who surveyed 3,000 single and married mothers, found that women who had children out of wedlock were worse off by the time they reached their 40’s, even if they tied the knot along the way.

Except for Latinas, that is.

Latinas did not have the negative health consequences suffered by black and white women facing similar circumstances. And that’s good news to a lot of us: The National Center for Health Statistics reports that 53 percent of Latinos are born to single mothers.

Researchers believe that unmarried Latinas who have a child often live with their baby daddy, creating marriage-like partnerships. They also speculate that many Latina mothers can count on their families to help them cope with the challenges of being a single parent.

Those demands have to do with money problems and stress, which leads to bad health. Unfortunately for a lot of women, marrying later on in life won’t make a difference, unless it’s with the biological father, and only for white women.

“Marriage tends to help by providing women with economic and social support, but black women are disadvantaged in marriage in both respects,” says the survey’s author Kristi Williams. “Black single mothers are more likely to marry men who have poor economic prospects.”

The study appears in the June 2011 issue of the American Sociological Review.

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About this author

Grace Bastidas, Deputy Editor

Born and raised in Queens, New York, where more languages are spoken than anywhere in the world, Grace Bastidas is Latina’s Deputy Editor. She oversees lifestyle content, including topics as diverse as career, health and relationships, and occasionally writes about her own experiences in The Good Life section. As a writer, Grace’s work has appeared in The New York TimesNew York magazine, The Wall Street Journal and Travel + Leisure. She is fluent in Spanish.

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