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The Father Absence Crisis in America [Infographic]

Posted by Ryan Sanders

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 is raised in a father-absent home, he or she is...

When child is raised in father-absent home, he or she is 4X more likely to live in poverty1) 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)

When child is raised in father-absent home, he or she is more more likely to suffer emotional and behavioral problems2) 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 mortality3) 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)

When child is raised in father-absent home, he or she is more likely to go to prison4) More Likely to go to Prison

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

When child is raised in father-absent home, he or she is more likely to commit a crime5) More Likely to Commit Crime

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

When child is raised in father-absent home, he or she is 7X more likely to become pregnant as a teen6) 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) 

When child is raised in father-absent home, he or she is more likely to face abuse or neglect7) 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 adn more than 6 times the rate of neglect. (Child's Bureau)

When child is raised in father-absent home, he or she is more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol8) 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 antismoking 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 obesity9) Two Times 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)

When child is raised in father-absent home, he or she is 2X more likely to drop out of high school10) 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)


Click the infographic to enlarge.

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Visit our Father Absence Statistics page to learn more and support NFI’s work to connect fathers to children.

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