Recent years have seen a growth in the number of women having children outside marriage and bringing them up alone. This trend has been accompanied by extensive public debate about lone motherhood. This chapter explores these developments and reflects on the implications of this debate. Our particular focus is on the powerful and widespread discourse which gripped the media and policy circles in the early 1990s; this discourse links lone motherhood with the creation and reproduction of an ‘underclass’ in contemporary society. Whilst this period is certainly not unique in its concern about the breakdown of ‘the family’ and the rise in the number of never married mothers, this specific discursive construction of lone motherhood is particularly interesting. The role of the media, leading politicians and academics in promoting the idea of a dangerous and growing underclass is considered. Commentators on both sides of the Atlantic have spoken of ‘the demoralization of society’ (Himmelfarb 1995), a process in which the lone mother has been seen as playing a catalytic role.