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[Press Release] Proportion of American Children Living with a Father in the Home Reaches 34-Year High

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Jan 30, 2024

2024 father absence update

Proportion of American Children Living with a Father in the Home Reaches 34-Year High 
As more U.S. children grow up with involved fathers, trends in father presence are supported by nationwide efforts to build capacity in organizations to engage and serve fathers.

GERMANTOWN, Md. – Jan. 25, 2024 /PRNewswire-PRWeb/ - Data released in the U.S. Census Bureau's 2023 Current Population Survey (CPS) reveal that the proportion of children growing up with a biological, step, or adoptive father in the home is now at the highest since 1989. Approximately 75%, or 54.5 million of the country's 72.3 million children, count a resident father as a housemate. National Fatherhood Initiative® (NFI), the nation's leading fatherhood organization, credits much of this improvement to the work of fatherhood programs and human service organizations to help fathers overcome challenges, be more engaged in their children's lives, and reduce the risk of child maltreatment.

Based on the data reported in the 2023 CPS, there are 2.8 million fewer children in father-absent homes (17.8 million) since that figure peaked at 20.6 million in 2012. For Black children, a population that historically has been most affected by father absence, 5.3 million live without a resident father—the lowest number since 1984. For the first time since 1976, more than half of U.S. Black children are growing up with a resident father.

Father presence and positive involvement improve children's emotional and social well-being. When children grow up with a father or father figure in the home, they are less likely to live in poverty, drop out of high school, commit crimes and be sentenced to prison, become pregnant before the age of 18, and more.

"The latest CPS data underscore the benefits of involved fathers for children, families, and communities," said Christopher Brown, president of National Fatherhood Initiative®. "While we celebrate these positive shifts, more than 17 million American children still live without a father present—enough children to fill New York City twice. We must continue to increase awareness of the impact of father involvement and create an infrastructure that encourages communities and organizations to include fathers in programs and services."

NFI comes alongside human service organizations and practitioners with a strengths-based approach to father engagement training, evidence-based and evidence-informed fatherhood programs, and other educational materials to help them be more father inclusive. Since its inception 30 years ago, NFI has established substantial partnerships with city, county, and state agencies to advance equity for fathers and reduce father absence. Highlights of these partnerships include these recent efforts:

  • A multi-decade collaboration with the Ohio Commission on Fatherhood designed to mobilize Ohio counties to be more father inclusive and deliver NFI programs to OCF-funded organizations.
  • An initiative to implement NFI's 24:7 Dad®, the most widely used evidence-based fatherhood program in the U.S., in behavioral health treatment settings through the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.
  • A community mobilization effort in Baytown, Texas, to engage all city sectors around fatherhood, with an emphasis on reducing drug and opioid misuse.

The annual CPS gathers data from a sample of U.S. households to identify estimates of America's families and their living arrangements. Data are categorized by how many children under 18 live in different households: two-parent (married and not married), mother-only, father-only, or neither-parent (i.e., other relatives or no relatives). NFI uses this data to track father absence trends in the intervening years between the decennial census.

For more information on NFI, visit http://www.fatherhood.org.

About National Fatherhood Initiative® 
National Fatherhood Initiative® (NFI) was founded in 1994 to reverse our nation's destructive trend toward father absence. Today, more than 17 million American children live in homes where their biological fathers do not live. Yet, the fact remains that millions of families interact with human service organizations every year that are primarily mother-focused. Therefore, NFI's mission is to increase father involvement by equipping human service organizations and communities with the father engagement training, programs, and resources they need to be father inclusive. Our vision is that all human service organizations and communities are proactively father inclusive so that every child has an involved, responsible, and committed father.

Accordingly, we accomplish our mission by:

  • Educating all Americans, especially fathers, through social media, earned media, research, and free resources.
  • Equipping organizations and communities with fatherhood programs and resources through training, planning, and technical assistance services.
  • Engaging and assisting organizations and communities in mobilizing at the micro-level and macro-level to increase fathers' involvement in children's lives.

For more information on NFI, visit http://www.fatherhood.org

Media Contact

Maggie Spain, National Fatherhood Initiative®, 405-812-0685, maggie@spearcadenver.com, fatherhood.org 

Melissa Byers, National Fatherhood Initiative®, 240-912-1273, mbyers@fatherhood.org, fatherhood.org

SOURCE: National Fatherhood Initiative®


How to Mobilize Your City. County, or State Around Responsible Fatherhood

Topics: father absence data, fatherhood data, Featured, NFI-Specific Programs & Resources, Success Stories, General Fatherhood Research & Studies, NFI News & Updates, 24:7 Dad®

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