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Final Report Fathers at Work - pdf

Did You Know…

  •  There are 62 million dads in the United States.

  • An estimated 25 million children (40%) live in homes without their fathers. (National Fatherhood Initiative, Father Facts, 3rd edition.)

  • 90% of all Americans agree that “fathers make a unique contribution to their children’s lives.” (1996 Gallup Poll, National Center for Fathering.)

  • 72 % of the U.S. population believes that fatherlessness is the most significant family or social problem facing America. (National Center for Fathering, Fathering in America, January 1999.)

What Parents Are Saying…

  • 53% of parents today believe that they are doing a worse job of parenting than their own parents did (2002 Public Agenda Survey.)
  • 61% of parents rate their generation as “fair” or “poor” at raising children. (2002 Public Agenda Survey.)

About the Children…

Children with involved fathers are:

  • More confident and less anxious in unfamiliar settings
  • Better able to deal with frustration
  • Better able to gain a sense of independence and an identity outside the mother-child relationship
  • More likely to mature into compassionate adults
  • More likely to have higher self-esteem and grade point averages
  • More sociable

(National Center for Fathering, Fathering in America, January 1999.)

The Effects of Fatherlessness…

Children from fatherless homes are more likely to:

  • Suffer from poverty
  • Become involved in drug and alcohol abuse
  • Drop out of school
  • Suffer from health and emotional problems
  • Boys are more likely to become involved in crime
  • Girls are more likely to become pregnant as teens

(National Center for Fathering, Fathering in America, January 1999.)

While the following statistics are formidable, the Responsible Fatherhood research literature generally supports the claim that a loving and nurturing father improves outcomes for children, families and communities. The following are findings from the National Fatherhood Initiative's (NFI) Father Facts:

  • 24 million children (34 percent) live absent their biological father
  • Nearly 20 million children (27 percent) live in single-parent homes
  • 1.35 million births (33 percent of all births) in 2000 occurred out of wedlock
  • 43 percent of first marriages dissolve within fifteen years; about 60 percent of divorcing couples have children; and approximately one million children each year experience the divorce of their parents.
  • Over 3.3 million children live with an unmarried parent and the parent's cohabiting partner.
  • The number of cohabiting couples with children has nearly doubled since 1990, from 891,000 to 1.7 million today.
  • Fathers who live with their children are more likely to have a close, enduring relationship with their children than those who do not.
  • The best predictor of father presence is marital status.
  • Compared to children born within marriage, children born to cohabiting parents are three times as likely to experience father absence, and children born to unmarried, non-cohabiting parents are four times as likely to live in a father-absent home.
  • About 40 percent of children in father-absent homes have not seen their father at all during the past year; 26 percent of absent fathers live in a different state than their children; and 50 percent of children living absent their father have never set foot in their father's home.
  • Children who live absent their biological fathers are, on average, at least two to three times more likely to be poor, to use drugs, to experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems, to be victims of child abuse, and to engage in criminal behavior than their peers who live with their married, biological (or adoptive) parents.
  • From 1960 to 1995, the proportion of children living in single-parent homes tripled, from 9 percent to 27 percent, and the proportion of children living with married parents declined.
  • However, from 1995 to 2000, the proportion of children living in single-parent homes slightly declined, while the proportion of children living with two married parents remained stable.
  • Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have healthy self-esteem, exhibit empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high-risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy, and criminal activity compared to children who have uninvolved fathers.
  • Studies on parent-child relationships and child wellbeing show that father love is an important factor in predicting the social, emotional, and cognitive development and functioning of children and young adults.

Census Fatherhood Statistics

  • 26.4 million: Number of fathers who are part of married-couple families with their own children under the age of 18

    Among these fathers -
    - 22 percent are raising three or more of their own children under 18 years old (among married-couple family households only)

    - 2 percent live in the home of a relative or a non-relative.
  • 2.3 million: Number of single fathers, up from 400,000 in 1970. Currently, among single parents living with their children, 18 percent are men

    Among these fathers -
    - 11 percent are raising three or more of their own children under 18 years old.
    - 42 percent are divorced, 39 percent have never married, 15 percent are separated and 4 percent are widowed. (The percentages of those divorced and never married are not significantly different from one another.)

    - 16 percent live in the home of a relative or a non-relative

    - 22 percent have an annual family income of $50,000 or more

 Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Facts for Features Section.

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