• June 2002
  • Vol. 3, No. 5

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National Fatherhood Group Examines Statistical Trends in U.S. Families

Drawing on data from a variety of sources, the fourth edition of Father Facts examines a long list of family-related topics including father absence, single-parent families, out-of-wedlock childbearing, divorce, child custody, child support, stepfamilies, and cohabitation.

The 182-page document, released April 9 by the National Fatherhood Initiative, reports that a decades-long trend toward single-parent families has leveled off. From 1960 to 1995 the proportion of children living in single-parent homes tripled from 9 percent to 27 percent; from 1995 to 2000, that proportion declined slightly, although the figure remains historically high.

Wade F. Horn, Ph.D., former National Fatherhood Initiative president and current Assistant Secretary for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and researcher Tom Sylvester write in the introduction that out-of-wedlock childbearing has overtaken divorce as the primary cause of father absence. "The root of the fatherhood crisis in America is the physical disappearance of fathers from families," write Horn and Sylvester. "As such, the future of fatherhood is inextricably tied to the future of marriage."

According to the study, 24 million U.S. children (34 percent) live absent their biological father. The document reports that 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 visited their father's home. Father Facts reports that children who live without the presence of their fathers in their lives are more likely to be poor, use drugs, be victims of abuse, and to experience other difficulties in life than children who live with their married biological or adoptive parents, the report states. Other statistics noted in the report include the following:

  • The rate of child abuse in single-parent families is nearly twice the rate of child abuse in two-parent households.
  • Fathers who live with their children are more likely to have close enduring relationships with their children.
  • Children with involved, loving fathers are significantly more likely to do well in school, have higher self-esteem, and do well in other ways.

To order a copy of Father Facts, contact:

The National Fatherhood Initiative
101 Lake Forest Blvd., Suite 360
Gaithersburg, MD 20877
Phone: 301-948-0599
Fax: 301-948-4325
Email: info@fatherhood.org
Website: http://www.fatherhood.org

Related Items

See the following related articles in these past issues of the Children's Bureau Express:

  • "Supporting Responsible Fathers in Baltimore, Maryland"(May 2002)
  • "Dads Make a Difference" (July/August 2001)
  • "Institute Focuses on Latino Fathers" (July 2000)

Read President Bush's proclamation on Father's Day, 2002 at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/news/releases/2002/06/20020614-4.html

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