August 25, 2022
Center for Opportunity Now
Fatherlessness and Crime
August 25, 2022
An absent father affects all aspects of a child’s life, from socio-cognitive and socio-emotional development to academic performance. In addition, fatherlessness has a negative influence on criminal or delinquent behavior.
Fatherlessness in the united States
- Approximately 18,395,000 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,.
- 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.
- Approximately 41% of children are born to unwed mothers. For women under age 30, the out-of-wedlock rate increases to 53%.
- Single fathers are absent from approximately 80% of single-parent homes.
FATHERLESS CHILDREN AND RISK FACTORS
- 63% of youth suicide victims are from fatherless homes.
- 90% of all homeless and runaway children come from fatherless homes.
- 70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions and 85% of youth in prisons come from fatherless homes.
- 80% of rapists come from fatherless homes.
- Fatherless children are six times more likely to live in poverty and commit criminal acts than children raised in dual-parent households.
- Approximately 85% of children with behavioral disorders have been raised in fatherless homes—20 times the national percentage.
FATHERLESS CHILDREN AND JUVENILE DELINQUENCY
- Fatherless children are three times more likely to be behind bars by the time they are 30 years old.
- Fatherless children are more likely to suffer from alcohol and substance abuse, participate in school violence, and engage in impulsive and delinquent behavior.
- From 1980 to 2010, the arrest data of fatherless boys ages 10 to 14 increased by 50%.
- 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.
- Minimal parental involvement, unstable family dynamics, and the development of attachment issues—all common consequences of a fatherless home—contribute to an increased risk of juvenile delinquency.
- Fatherless children are 20 times more likely to be incarcerated than children raised in dual-parent households.
FATHERLESSNESS AND SCHOOL VIOLENCE
- 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.