Fathers Matter (Pass it on)

June 17, 2022

By Jack Brewer

Fatherhood is foundational to strong families, and strong families are essential to a strong Nation. But the effects of America’s current fatherlessness epidemic are felt across many aspects of American society. To fix this problem, we must first speak openly about the problem of fatherless children.

America is in the middle of a fatherless crisis

  • Approximately 1 in 4 US children (18.4 million) live without a father in the home. [1]
  • The United States has the highest rate of children living in single-parent households of any nation in the world.[2]
  • Approximately 80% of single-parent homes are led by single mothers.[3]
  • The percentage of American children being raised in a one-parent household (23%) is three times higher than the rest of the world.[4]

Fathers are crucial to the stability of society

  • Without a father in the home, children are 5 times more likely to live in poverty than a child in a married-couple family.[5]
  • Three out of four children living in public housing communities do not have a father living in the home.[6]
  • 90% of all homeless and runaway children come from fatherless homes.[7]
  • Children without fathers at home are 9 times more likely to drop out of high school.[8]
  • 40% of children who repeat a grade in school do not have a father at home.[9]

Fathers are crucial to the well-being of a child

  • 63% of teens who commit suicide and 85% of children and teens with behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.[10]
  • Children from single-parent families are twice as likely to suffer from mental health problems as those living with married parents.[11]
  • 71% of all adolescent patients in drug and alcohol treatment centers come from fatherless homes.[12]

Americans believe that children raised in a strong family unit are not only better for the child but better for society as a whole

*All data from a Scott Rasmussen survey of 1,200 registered voters, January 20-21, 2022

  • 84% believe a strong family is foundational to a strong America.
  • 84% believe that parents bear primary responsibility for raising children; just 11% say it is a community responsibility.
  • 67% believe the decline of the family is harming American growth and prosperity.
  • 65% believe children who grow up fatherless are at a significant disadvantage in life.

[1] Father Absence Statistics. (n.d.). National Fatherhood Initiative . Retrieved June 5, 2022, from https://www.fatherhood.org/father-absence-statistic

[2] Kramer, Stephanie. “U.S. Has World’s Highest Rate of Children Living in Single-Parent Households.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 28 May 2021.

[3] Single Mother Statistics (Updated 2021)”, 17 May 2021.

[4] Kramer, Stephanie. “U.S. Has World’s Highest Rate of Children Living in Single-Parent Households.” Pew Research Center, Pew Research Center, 28 May 2021.

[5] Bureau, US Census. “America's Families and Living Arrangements: 2015.” Census.gov, 8 Oct. 2021.

[6]Strong Families Initiative.” HUD.gov / U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

[7]Research and Statistics.” Rochester Area Fatherhood Network.

[8] Ibid.

[9] U.S. Census Bureau. (2021). Living arrangements of children under 18 years old: 1960 to present. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Census Bureau.

[10] Martinez, Ken, et al. “A Guide for Father Involvement in Systems of Care.” Technical Assistance Partnership for Child and Family Mental Health, Feb. 2011.

[11] Batty, David. “Single-Parent Families Double Likelihood of Child Mental Illness.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 21 Feb. 2006.

[12] National Center for Fathering. Fatherlessness Epidemic, National Center for Fathering. Accessed 3 Feb. 2022.