A COMPILATION OF FATHER-RELATED STATISTICS

by Doug Edwards
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NATIONAL FATHERHOOD INITIATIVE

TOP TEN FATHER FACTS

 

  1.         An estimated 24.7 million children (36.3%) live absent their biological father.

 

  1.         There are almost 17 million children (25%) living with their single mothers.

 

  1.         1.25 million or 32% of all births in 1995 were out-of-wedlock.

 

  1.         Today nearly 4 out of 10 first marriages end in divorce, 60% of divorcing couples have children, and over one million children each year experience the divorce of their parents.

 

  1.         One out of every six children is a stepchild.

 

  1.         There are nearly 1.9 million single fathers with children under 18.

 

  1.         4 out of every 10 cohabiting couples have children present and of children born to cohabiting             couples, only 4 out of 10 will see their parents marry. Those who do marry experience a 50% higher divorce rate.

 

  1.          26% of absent fathers live in a different state than their children.

 

  1.         About 40% of the children who live in fatherless households haven’t seen their fathers in at least a year while 50% of children who don’t live with their fathers have never stepped foot in their father’s home.

 

  1.      Children who live absent their biological fathers, on average, are more likely to be poor, experience educational, health, emotional, and psychological problems, be victims of child          abuse, and engage in criminal behavior than their peers who live with their married, biological mother and father.

State Trends in Fatherhood

Connecticut

 

    23.6% MOTHER ONLY FAMILY

 

    4.3% FATHER ONLY FAMILY

 

    29% PER CENT OF OUT OF WEDLOCK BIRTHS

 

    68% PATERNITY ESTABLISHMENT RATE

 

    16.2% TOTAL CHILD SUPPORT COLLECTION

 

    39/1000 TEEN BIRTH RATE (15-19 YR.)

 

    86% TEEN BIRTHS OUT OF WEDLOCK
 

Educational Attainment and Positive Father Involvement

ŸA survey of over 20,000 parents found that when fathers are involved in their children’s education including attending school meetings and volunteering at school, children were more likely to get A’s, enjoy school, and participate in extracurricular activities and less likely to have repeated a grade.

Source: Fathers’ Involvement in Their Children’s Schools. National Center for Education Statistics. Washington DC: GPO, 1997.

ŸA longitudinal study of 584 children from intact families indicated that children whose fathers are highly involved with them attain higher levels of education and economic self-sufficiency than children whose fathers are not highly involved. A high level of paternal involvement and improved father-child relations throughout adolescence were associated with lower levels of delinquency and better psychological well-being.

Source: Mullan Harris, Kathleen, Frank F. Furstenberg, and Jeremy K. Marmer. “Paternal Involvement with Adolescents in Intact Families: The Influences of Fathers over the Life Course.” American Sociological Association. New York. 16-20 Aug. 1996.

ŸA study using a national probability sample of 1,250 fathers showed that children whose fathers share meals, spend leisure time with them, or help them with reading or homework do significantly better academically than those children whose fathers do not.

Source: Cooksey, Elizabeth C. and Michelle M. Fondell. “Spending Time with His Kids: Effects of Family Structure on Fathers’ and Children’s Lives.” Journal of Marriage and the Family 58 (August 1996): 693-707.

Ÿ“...for girls, studies link a sense of competence in daughters — especially in mathematics and a sense of femininity — to a close, warm relationship between father and daughter.”

Source: Radin, N. and G. Russell. “Increased Father Participation and Child Development Outcomes.” Fatherhood and Family Policy. Eds. M.E. Lamb and A. Sagi. Hillside Lawrence Erlbaum, 1983: 191-218.

Effects of Early Father Involvement on Child Well-Being

A study on parent-infant attachment found that fathers who were affectionate, spent time with their children, and overall had a positive attitude were more likely to have securely attached infants.

Source: Cox, M.J. et al. “Prediction of Infant-Father and Infant-Mother Attachment.” Developmental Psychology 28 (1992): 474-483.

In a study of 75 toddlers it was found that children who were securely attached to their fathers were better problem solvers than children who were not securely attached to their fathers. Children whose fathers spent a lot of time with them and who were sensitive to their needs were found to be better adapted than their peers whose fathers were not as involved and were less sensitive.

Source: Esterbrooks, M. Ann and Wendy A. Goldberg. “Toddler Development in the Family: Impact of Father Involvement and Parenting Characteristics.” Child Development 55 (1984): 740-752.

A study of Swedish infants found that those who were securely attached to their fathers were more sociable with strangers than their peers who were less attached to their parents.

Source: Lamb, M.E. et al. “Security of Mother- and Father-Infant Interaction Involving Play and Holding in Traditional and Nontraditional Swedish Families, Infant Behavior and Development.” (1982): 355-367. “The Development of Father-Infant Relationships.” The Role of the Father in Child Development. by Lamb, Michael E. New York: Wiley, 1997.

“...six-month old babies whose fathers had been actively involved scored higher on the Bayley Test of Mental and Motor Development, and babies whose fathers were involved during the first eight weeks of life managed stress better during their school years.”

Source: Pedersen, F.A. et al. “Parent-Infant and Husband-Wife Interactions Observed at Five Months.” The Father-Infant Relationship. Ed. F. Pedersen. New York, 1980. 65-91.

A study assessing the level of adaptation of one-year olds found that, when left with a stranger, children whose fathers were highly involved were less likely to cry, worry, or disrupt play than other one-year olds whose fathers were less involved.

Source: Kotelchuk, M. “The Infant’s Relationship to His Father: Experimental Evidence.” The Role of the Father in Child Development. by Michael Lamb. 2nd ed. New York: Wiley, 1981.

“Premature infants whose fathers spent more time playing with them had better cognitive outcomes at age 3.”

Source: Yogman, M.W., D. Kindlon and F.J. Earls. “Father Involvement and Cognitive Behavioral Outcomes of Premature Infants.” Journal of the American Academy Child and Adolescent Psychology 34 (1995): 58-66.

The Positive Impact of Father Involvement

A study using a nationally representative sample of children showed that children whose fathers showed little emotional involvement were more likely to have experienced poverty than children whose fathers were emotionally involved with their children.

Source: Mullan Harris, Kathleen and Jeremy K. Marmer. “Poverty, Paternal Involvement, and Adolescent Well-Being.” Journal of Family Issues 17 (1996): 614-640.

Whether the outcome variable is cognitive development, sex-role development, or psycho-social development, children are better off when their relationship with their father is close and warm.

Source: Lamb, M.E. The Father’s Role: Applied Perspectives. New York: J. Wiley, 1986.

A study using a nationally representative sample of 1,600 10-13 year olds found that children who shared important ideas with their fathers and who perceived the amount of time they spent with their fathers as excellent had fewer behavior problems and lived in more cognitively stimulating homes than their peers who did not share important ideas or view the amount of time they spent with their fathers as excellent.

Source: Williams, Malcolm V. “Reconceptualizing Father Involvement.” Masters Thesis Georgetown University, 1997.

Children with fathers at home tend to do better in school, are less prone to depression and are more successful in relationships. Children from one-parent families achieve less and get into trouble more than children from two-parent families.

Source: One-Parent Families and Their Children: The School’s Most Significant Minority. The Consortium for the Study of School Needs of Children from One-Parent Families. National Association of Elementary School Principals and the Institute for Development of Educational Activities, a division of the Charles F. Kettering Foundation. Arlington, VA. 1980.

Father-child interaction has been shown to promote a child’s physical well-being, perceptual abilities, and competency for relatedness with others, even at a young age.

Source: Krampe, E.M. and P.D. Fairweather. “Father Presence and Family Formation: A Theoretical Reformulation.” Journal of Family Issues 14.4 (December 1993): 572-591.

In a study of 254 African-American male adolescents, boys living with both biological parents were most likely to cite their fathers as role models (96 percent), compared to only 44 percent of those not living with their fathers, and were more likely to stay in school.

Source: Zimmerman, Marc A. “African-American Male Teen’s Relationships With Their Father.” Child Development (December 1995).

A longitudinal study of 584 children from intact families indicated that children whose fathers are highly involved with them attain higher levels of education and economic self-sufficiency than children whose fathers are not highly involved. A high level of paternal involvement and improved father-child relations throughout adolescence were associated with lower levels of delinquency and better psychological well-being.

Source: Mullan Harris, Kathleen, Frank F. Furstenberg, and Jeremy K. Marmer. “Paternal Involvement with Adolescents in Intact Families: The Influences of Fathers over the Life Course.” American Sociological Association. New York. 16-20 Aug. 1996.

A survey of African-American men revealed that men who had experienced a positive relationship with a father who cared and sacrificed for them are more likely to be responsible fathers themselves.

Source: Furstenberg, F. “Good Dads-Bad Dads: Two Faces of Fatherhood.” The Changing American Family and Public Policy. Ed. A.J. Cherlin. Washington DC: The Urban Institute Press, 1988.

A longitudinal study on over 1,000 children who lived with both biological parents found that children whose fathers wore seat belts, had car insurance, and had precautionary savings were more successful as adults than their peers whose fathers did not engage in these activities. In addition, the father’s educational attainment and wage rate were positively associated with higher outcomes for the children when they entered the labor market.

Source: Yeung, Wei-Jun J., Greg J. Duncan, and Martha S. Hill. “Putting Fathers Back in the Picture: Parental Activities and Children’s Adult Attainments.” Conference on Father Involvement. Bethesda, Maryland, 10-11 Oct. 1996.

Using nationally representative data on over 2,600 adults born in the inner city, it was found that children who lived with both parents were more likely to have finished high school, be economically self-sufficient, and to have a healthier life style than their peers who grew up in a broken home.

Source: Hardy, Janet B. et al. “Self Sufficiency at Ages 27 to 33 Years: Factors Present between Birth and 18 Years that Predict Educational Attainment Among Children Born to Inner-city Families.” Pediatrics 99 (1997): 80-87.