The assessment of poverty is based on the DWP's measure of a family living on below 60 per cent of median income, with adjustments to take into account the number of people in a family.When researchers also made a judgment of standard of living - with hardship based on the ability of families to afford new clothes or days out or consumer goods - they found that 11 per cent of lone-parent families in poverty were also in hardship.

parent dating tip-33parent dating tip-63parent dating tip-64

Traditional families, where the mother stays at home while her husband works, are more likely to face poverty than single-parent families, Government researchers admit.

A single mother who goes out to work receives more through the tax credit system on average than a working parent who also has a partner to support.

Of nearly 6,000 families surveyed, 13 per cent of those headed by a single parent with a job had poverty-level incomes, according to the findings, published by the Department for Work and Pension.

Balancing the books: Two-parent families, where the mother stays at home while the father works, are getting less tax credits than single-parent families But among two-parent families where one partner stayed at home raising the children while the other went to work, 15 per cent were in poverty.

But couples with one parent working got tax credits worth £98 a week - less than the single-parent families even though they had two adults to house, clothe and feed.

The findings were made public amid increasingly intensive Government efforts to persuade mothers to take job.

However, surveys show most women would prefer to stay at home to bring up their children, at least during their early year.

There are 2.3million single parent families in Britain and just over two million traditional families with a working father and a stay-at-home mother.

Academics from the largely Government-funded National Centre for Social Research examined evidence from the DWP's Families and Children Study for their report, which said: 'Most families who received in-work tax credits had low earnings and so were often closer to the income poverty threshold than families who did not receive them.