DETROIT (ChurchMilitant.com) - Some 24 million kids in the United States do not live with their father.
According to an analysis published over the weekend by the National Review, one in four American children lives without a biological or adoptive father. A separate statistical analysis, produced by the National Fatherhood Initiative (NFI) and shared on Sunday by Breitbart, says the percentage of fatherless children is closer to one in three.
Though the two studies disagree on the ratio, they concur that the number of children separated from their fathers is about 24 million.
Children raised without their fathers are more likely to abuse drugs and alcohol, commit crimes, go to prison, become obese or drop out of high school. Furthermore, children raised with the father absent are four times more likely to grow up in poverty, and girls who grow up without fathers are seven times more likely to become pregnant while teenagers.
NFI's website states, "There is a father absence crisis in America. According to the U.S. census bureau, 24 million children, 1 out of 3, live without their biological father in the home. Consequently, there is a father factor in nearly all social ills facing America today."
According to the National Review, the fatherhood crisis has hit the African-American community the hardest. Among U.S. African-Americans, 57 percent of children are being raised in their father's absence.
Two factors contributing to the crisis of fatherhood, Lyman Stone argued in the National Review, are the decline of marriage and mass incarceration.
Marriage rates are falling, and sex outside of marriage is commonplace. In other words, many children are being born out of wedlock, and the child's father is less likely to marry the woman he gets pregnant.
On average, married men have reported spending five times more time with their kids per month than fathers who were unmarried or divorced.
The percentage of men ages 30–50 who were married in 2016 was 60 percent. This is part of a downward slope that began in the early 1980s. Prior to the 1980s, the number had never fallen below 75 percent.
Viewing these statistics together, it seems probable that, because fewer fathers today are married and because married men tend to be more involved in their kids' lives, fathers today are spending less time on average with their children than the fathers of the past.
In 2012, The Atlantic ran a piece about the connection between single-parent households and crimes. After discussing numerous studies and statistics, the author of the piece concluded, "The bottom line is that there is a large body of literature showing that children of single mothers are more likely to commit crimes than children who grow up with their married parents. This is true not just in the United States, but wherever the issue has been researched."
The article also stated that "there is no disagreement that the majority, and perhaps the large majority, of inmates grew up in fatherless homes."