FACT SHEET: Fatherhood and Crime

May 30, 2023

The United States has the HIGHEST RATE of children in single-parent households of any nation in the world.

There are over 18 million fatherless children in the US.

Fathers are absent from approximately 80% of single-parent homes.

Fatherless families are 4x more likely to live in poverty than that for married-couple families.

Fatherless children are more likely to abuse drugs and show signs of delinquent behavior.

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.

  • Father absence as a predictor of violence is robust for both male and female violence.
  • 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from single-parent homes
  • Individuals from father-absent homes are 279% more likely to carry guns and deal drugs than their peers
  • Most adolescents who enter the justice system have suffered from parental abandonment, substance abuse, or a dysfunctional household.
  • In a study of 75 juvenile delinquents, 66% experienced fatherlessness, 20% had never lived with their father, and 25% had an alcoholic father.
  • It has been reported that fatherless children are anywhere from 3 to 20 times more likely to be incarcerated than children raised in dual-parent households.
  • 71% of teachers and 90% of law enforcement officials state that the lack of parental supervision at home is a major factor that contributes to violence in schools. 
  • In a study of 56 school shootings, only 10 of the shooters (18%) were raised in a stable home with both biological parents. 82% grew up in either an unstable family environment or grew up without both biological parents together.
  • Some data suggests 72 percent of adolescent murderers and 70 percent of long-term prison inmates come from fatherless homes
  • Children who feel closeness to their father are 80% less likely to spend time in jail
  • 75% percent of adolescent patients in substance abuse centers are from fatherless homes.
  • Of America’s roughly 2 million prisoners, over 800,000 are parents—and 92 percent of those are fathers.
  • Around 2.7 million children have at least one parent in prison.