Fatherlessness In Mississippi

August 25, 2022

By Jack Brewer

Fatherhood is foundational to strong families, and strong families are essential to a strong Nation. An absent father affects all aspects of a child’s life, from socio-cognitive and socio-emotional development to academic performance and criminality—and unfortunately, the effects of fatherlessness are visible in the state of Mississippi.

Fatherlessness in the united States

  • Approximately 18.4 million children in the United States live without a biological father, stepfather, or adoptive father present in the home.
  • 23% of children in the United States are raised by a single parent. This is more than three times the world average (7%) of children raised by a single parent, and the highest rate of any country on Earth.
  • Approximately 41% of children are born to unwed mothers. For women under age 30, the unwed birth rate increases to 53%.
  • Fathers are absent in approximately 80% of single-parent homes.
  • Fatherless children are more likely to suffer from psychosocial development issues, live in poverty, drop out of school, engage in school violence, abuse substances, and enter the juvenile justice system.


  • 56% of Mississippi babies are born to unwed mothers, totaling 19,792 births per year.
  • 294,000 children live in single-parent households, representing 46% of all Mississippi children.
    • This includes approximately 184,000 Black children (70% of all Black children in the state) and 86,000 white children (27% of all white children in the state).
  • According to a 2022 fatherlessness report by State Auditor Shad White, nearly 2,000 fatherless young women gave birth in 2019, costing the Mississippi taxpayer more than $50 million dollars in that year alone.

CRIME IN mississippi

  • According to State Auditor Shad White, nearly 9,800 men in Mississippi’s prisons most likely come from fatherless homes. This represents approximately 50% of Mississippi’s total prison population.
    • By this estimation, fatherless male prisoners cost the Mississippi taxpayer approximately $180 million in 2020 alone.
  • Mississippi has an incarceration rate of 1,031 per 100,000 people (including prisons, jails, immigration detention, and juvenile justice facilities), compared to 664 per 100,000 for the United States as a whole.


  • 68% of Mississippi fourth graders scored “below proficient” in reading for their class level.
  • 76% of Mississippi eighth graders scored “below proficient” in mathematics for their class level.
  • 26% of Mississippi fourth graders are considered “chronically absent” from school.
  • According to State Auditor Shad White, Mississippi taxpayers will lose approximately $560 million attributable to fatherless students who dropped out of school in the 2021-2022 academic year alone.


  • According to State Auditor Shad White, the effects of fatherlessness cost Mississippi taxpayers approximately $700 million each year due to increased incarceration rates, increased education costs, and other significant drivers of taxpayer spending.