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Census: Oklahoma has more Mr. Moms and Ms. Dads raising children

More single parents are raising their children alone in Oklahoma, with single fathers representing the biggest percentage jump of 40 percent, according to the U.S. Census Bureau
BY SONYA COLBERG scolberg@opubco.com Published: July 17, 2011
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Sitting in a church pew with his five children stair-stepped next to him, William Duran looks more like Mr. Mom than an ex-con.

He's both. And he's found patching his life back together on the outside has almost made prison look like Sunday school.


“It's been really difficult, being Mr. Mom,” said Duran, 35.

Beyond dealing with his emotions and those of the children after his wife left, Duran has struggled most with getting baby-sitting while he works. In fact, he was temporarily laid off from his construction job of three years when he missed work because he couldn't find affordable, steady care for his children, ages 22 months to 9.

“A month ago, I was stressed out. I didn't know how I was going to pay the bills,” said Duran, who was rehired by his former boss and elder at Newsong Church about three weeks ago.

“There was the possibility of Satan seeping into my life. Satan and I used to have a good relationship, until the Lord stepped into my life,” Duran said.

Without a driver's license for a dozen years because of driving violations, he's seen in Grove pushing 22-month-old Dax in a baby carriage with Javlynn, 4, Devon, 6, Dustin, 7, and Denton, 9, in tow during carefully planned — and budgeted — trips to the store.

Single parents

Similar struggles are common among Oklahoma parents raising their children solo. More than 168,600 single parents raise their children alone in Oklahoma, up nearly 19 percent in the last decade.

Duran represents part of the fastest growing segment of that population: single-father households, which jumped by 40 percent to 45,934. The number is still significantly less than single-mother households, a category that U.S. Census Bureau figures show rose by 12 percent to 122,699.

Some studies indicate the trend may be pushed by more men becoming involved in their children's lives after divorce, more often seeking custody or sharing custody.

Limiting opportunities

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