Facts and Figures

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In the United States alone, 21.2 million children (26% of all children) are growing up in a household with only one custodial parent.1

Among Black children, 48.5% are growing up with a single custodial parent.2

5 out of every 6 custodial parents are mothers (84%), 1 in 6 are fathers (16%).3

Poverty

Children in father-absent homes are five times more likely to be poor. In 2002, 7.8% of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 38.4% of children in female-householder families.4

Drug and Alcohol Abuse

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states, "Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse."5

Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy

Adolescent females between the ages of 15 and 19 years reared in homes without fathers are significantly more likely to engage in premarital sex than adolescent females reared in homes with both a mother and a father.6

Children in single parent families are more likely to get pregnant as teenagers than their peers who grow up with two parents.7

Educational Achievement

In studies involving over 25,000 children using nationally representative data sets, children who lived with only one parent had lower grade point averages, lower college aspirations, poor attendance records, and higher drop out rates than students who lived with both parents.8

Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school.9

Crime

Children in single parent families are more likely to be in trouble with the law than their peers who grow up with two parents.10

References

Note: most of these references were found on the National Center for Fathering, http://www.fathers.com/content/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=391

1U.S. Census Bureau, Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2005, P60-234, August 2007 http://www.census.gov/prod/2007pubs/p60-234.pdf

2U.S. Census Bureau, Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2005, P60-234, August 2007 http://www.census.gov/prod/2007pubs/p60-234.pdf

3U.S. Census Bureau, Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2005, P60-234, August 2007 http://www.census.gov/prod/2007pubs/p60-234.pdf

4Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Children's Living Arrangements and Characteristics: March 2002, P20-547, Table C8. Washington, D.C.: GPO 2003. http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/p20-547.pdf

5U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Health Statistics. Survey on Child Health. Washington, DC, 1993.

6Billy, John O. G., Karin L. Brewster and William R. Grady. "Contextual Effects on the Sexual Behavior of Adolescent Women." Journal of Marriage and Family 56 (1994): 381-404.

7U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Health Statistics. National Health Interview Survey. Hyattsville, MD 1988.

8McLanahan, Sara and Gary Sandefur. Growing up with a Single Parent: What Hurts, What Helps. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1994.

9U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Health Statistics. Survey on Child Health. Washington, DC; GPO, 1993.

10U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. National Center for Health Statistics. National Health Interview Survey. Hyattsville, MD, 1988.
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