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A new report concludes that single mothers in Illinois have been hit especially hard by economic troubles.

The group Voices for Illinois Children reports that nearly one-quarter of families with children are headed by single women, who face high unemployment, low pay and frequent poverty.

The unemployment rate for single mothers in 2009 was 13.5%, compared with less than 7% for married parents living together.

Nearly 39% of Illinois households headed by single mothers exist at the poverty level. The poverty rate for a married couple was just 6.4%.

Voices for Illinois Children is recommending federal legislation to strengthen the promise of equal pay for equal work. It also says Illinois should provide unemployment benefits to women who leave work because they lack childcare.

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