Two out of five of all single parents in the country are on unemployment benefits according to a study by the Bertelsmann Institute seen by the Welt am Sonntag.
Poor legal guidelines and government family policy were to blame, the study concluded. Tax rules and the lack of state intervention for families where the father is not paying child support are particular areas where improvement is needed.
“Policy has not been successful in improving the living situations of single parents,” head of the institute Jörg Dräger told the paper. "That's a cause for concern – especially because the number of single parents has grown considerably."
Legal expert Anne Lenze told ZDF broadcaster this family arrangement is one of the most important causes of child poverty in the country.
“Single parents need to have some of the tax burden taken off them in order to be able to combine family and career,” Lenze said, according to a pre-released script of the WISO programme due to be broadcast later on Monday.
The number of children they are looking after should play a larger role in the amount of income tax single parents have to pay, she added. Mothers and fathers bringing up children alone should get higher tax breaks, recommended the study.
"In this way more working mothers can live well with their children on the money they earn," said Dräger.
Around 2.2 million children are growing up in Germany with only one of their parents, a figure which is growing.