Students from single-parent families do worse in math than students living with two parents in nearly all countries, but the single-parent achievement gap is especially large in the U.S., writes Ludger Woessmann in Education Next. U.S. children with a single parent are one grade level behind, on average. And the U.S. has a high percentage of one-parent families.
Adjusting for socioeconomic background, such as parental education and the number of books at home, narrows the gap. But it remains higher than the international average.
“It is possible to enhance family environments to improve the quality of parenting, nurturing, and stimulation, and thereby promote healthy child development, writes Woessmann, an economics professor at the University of Munich.