Alarming Statistics on Fatherless Homes

The Father Absence Crisis in America

by Ryan Sanders of the National Fatherhood Initiative®. For more information on this extremely valuable source of information, please visit Fatherhood.org.

There is a crisis in America. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million children in America—one out of three—live without their biological dad in the home.

Consequently, there is a “father factor” in nearly all of the societal issues facing America today. We must realize there is a father absence crisis in America and begin to raise more involved, responsible, and committed fathers.

Research shows when a child grows up in a father-absent home, he or she is...

Four Times More Likely to Live in Poverty

  • Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. (U.S. Census Bureau)

More Likely to Suffer Emotional and Behavioral Problems

  • Children of single mothers show higher levels of aggressive behavior than children born to married mothers. (Journal of Marriage and Family)
  • When child is raised in father-absent home, he or she is 2X greater risk of infant mortality)

Two Times Greater Risk of Infant Mortality

  • Infant mortality rates are nearly two times higher for infants of unmarried mothers than for married mothers. (National Center for Health Statistics)

More Likely to go to Prison

  • One in five prison inmates had a father in prison. (Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs)

More Likely to Commit Crime

  • Study of juvenile offenders indicated that family structure significantly predicts delinquency. (Journal of Youth and Adolescence)

Seven Times More Likely to Become Pregnant as a Teen

  • Teens without fathers are twice as likely to be involved in early sexual activity and seven times more likely to get pregnant as an adolescent. (Child Development Journal)

More Likely to Face Abuse and Neglect

  • Compared to children living with married biological parents, those whose single parent had a live-in partner had more than 8 times the rate of maltreatment overall, over 10 times the rate of abuse and more than 6 times the rate of neglect. (Child's Bureau)

More Likely to Abuse Drugs and Alcohol

  • Youth are more at risk of first substance use without a highly involved father. (Social Science Research)
  • Adolescents whose fathers were drug abusers revealed that paternal smoking and drug use lead to strained father-child relationships. This weakened relationship led to greater adolescent maladjustment with family and friends and a higher risk for adolescent drug use and smoking. Fathers who smoke cigarettes were less likely to enforce anti-smoking rules for their children and had weaker bonds in terms of adolescent admiration and emulation. (Pediatrics)

When child is raised in father-absent home, he or she is 2X more likely to suffer obesity

  • Obese children are more likely to live in father-absent homes than are non-obese children. (National Longitudinal Survey of Youth)

Two Times More Likely to Drop Out of High School

  • Students living in father-absent homes are twice as likely to repeat a grade in school. (U.S. Department of Education)
  • Father involvement in schools is associated with the higher likelihood of their children getting mostly A's. (U.S. Department of Education)
  • In the typical elementary school classroom of 20 students, 7 of them—over 33 percent—are growing up without their biological father in the home. (U.S. Census Bureau)