Mothers and Payday Loans: The Lesser of Two Evils

Statistics show that women between the ages of 25 and 44 are the most likely to utilize payday loan services. Of course, this age demographic happens to cover women between the ages of 25 and 29, the highest child-bearing age group. The average age for first-time mothers in the United States in 2006 was 25 according to the National Center for Health Statistics. This is a substantial increase from the median age of 21 back in 1970. Women are waiting longer to start families these days due to other factors such as going to college, starting a career or simply a lack of financial stability.

With these statistics in mind, it’s easy to see why so many women in this age group frequent payday loan services. While it may be easy to write this information off with a flip comment about how women aren’t good with money, the truth is that there are way too many socio-economic factors one needs to consider before making such a gross generalization.

In our modern society, women have to fulfill a number of roles. Women are employees, employers, friends and students in addition to husbands, homemakers and mothers. With these responsibilities come added expenses, many of which can come up unexpectedly and cannot be ignored. A woman with no children might be able to hold off on buying a pair of shoes that she wants, but a mother cannot ignore a child whose clothes are too small. Children grow quickly, so a mother might have to take out a loan or borrow money from someone if she finds herself without the funds to care for her children.

Raising children can be particularly expensive and stressful for single mothers. In a divorce, the biological mother of a child is more likely to be granted custody than the father, especially if that child is still under the age of five. This adds to a mother’s expenses, making female divorcees much more likely to seek out payday loans.

Single mothers are five times more likely than the rest of the population to live in poverty. These women are often the sole providers for their families in every sense of the word. Not only is a single mother often the sole financial provider for her family, but she is the sole emotional and physical provider as well. That’s more stress than anybody should be expected to handle, yet single mothers must do this all the time.

For a single mother on a limited income, a payday loan is the lesser of two evils; it’s better to be in debt for a period of time than let a child go hungry. It’s by no means an ideal situation, but reality is far from ideal much of the time. The unfortunate truth about the world today is that the shaky economy has forced mothers and many other people to take out payday loans just to make ends meet, and it’s unfair to judge anybody as irresponsible for needing such loans to survive and provide for their families. Being a parent, let alone a single mother, is one of the most difficult jobs that someone can have.

It’s expensive and draining for the most financially stable members of society. Nobody really likes having to resort to payday loans, but these loans are a must for many people due to several unfortunate socio-economic factors beyond their control. Instead of passing judgment on these people and writing them off as financially irresponsible, people should take a look at why so many mothers live in poverty and do what they can to help them and spread awareness.