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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Kids of Single Moms Don't Fare So Badly

LOS ANGELES -- What divorcing couple hasn't heard horror stories about what the split might do to their children? A father's absence in the home, according to almost every fathers' group, could well spell doom for little boys, little girls and the nation's future.

Not necessarily, according to a new study from the University of Southern California and the University of Washington.

Stable, healthy two-parent families still appear to do the best job of raising kids. But when income and job status are taken into account, children raised by single mothers are nearly as likely to succeed as adults, and, interestingly enough, they are more likely to succeed than children raised in homes headed by a stepfather or a single father.

The study analyzed a survey of 22,761 men ranging in age from 25 to 64. They had been asked to report the occupation of the head of the household in which they grew up and to list their own occupations. All occupations were ranked on a 100-point scale, with 100 requiring the most education and returning the most income.

Men from traditional families averaged 42 on the scale, while men in mother-headed households averaged 40, no matter whether the mothers had been divorced, widowed or never married. Children from other types of nontraditional families ranked 35.