1 in 3 children in the U.S. live without their father as number of two-parent households falls by 1.2m in ten years
Fathers are fast disappearing from American homes and one in three children, or approximately 15 million live without one according to the U.S. Census.
The problem is especially pronounced in black families, where the figure increases to over half or around five million children.
In fact as the census recorded the fact that 160,000 new families with children were added, the number of two-parent households decreased by 1.2 million and nearly five million live without a mother.
Three census figures show that the number of one-parent families have increased and the number of two-parent families have decreased
These astonishing figures can be unfavorably compared with 1960, when just 11 percent of all American children lived in homes without fathers.
Blame for the prevalence of low income families where children fall into crime and drugs has been laid at the door of these damning numbers.
‘People look at a child in need, in poverty or failing in school, and ask, ‘What can we do to help?’ said Vincent DiCaro, vice president of the National Fatherhood Initiative.
‘But what we do is ask, ‘Why does that child need help in the first place?’ And the answer is often it’s because the child lacks a responsible and involved father.’
The spiral continues each year to the point where married couples with children have an average income of $80,000, which is compared to $24,000 for single mothers.
‘We have one class that thinks marriage and fatherhood is important, and another which doesn’t, and it’s causing that gap, income inequality, to get wider,’ said Mr. DiCaro to The Washington Times.
Men walking away from babies is a problem concentrated to the inner cities, with Baltimore having only 38 percent of families that have two parents and St. Louis has 40 percent of families that have two children.
The primary indicator for the problem is income – 12 percent of black families who live below the poverty line boast two parents, while among poor Latino families that figure is 41 percent and 32 percent among white families.
In all but 11 states, most black children do not live with both their parents while across every state, seven out of ten white children do.
‘Something has to be done about it, and it starts with the culture and reversing the attitude that marriage is not important. The president has a role to play in that. He’s a married African-American father who can probably make a huge difference with words alone,’ said Mr. DiCaro.
The decline in two parent families has also disproportionately hit the South, which has long been a bastion for traditional family values.
Even in places where the percentage of the black population declined, single parenthood increased.
In South Carolina, where the black share of the population fell by 2 percent, single parenthood rose by 5 percent. In Kentucky and Louisiana, where the black population was constant, single parenthood increased 6 percentage points according to the Washington Times.
‘In places you’d think values are at least talked about, they are not lived out necessarily. Education and income seem to trump them,’ said Mr. DiCaro.
‘The people who might not be preaching family values, like coastal upper-class communities, those are the people who are waiting to get married.’
The largest contiguous area of sustained fatherlessness is in the largely black poor across Arkansas, Mississippi and Louisiana running along the Mississippi River from Memphis, Tennessee.
‘When you have very little going for you in your life, having children can give purpose to it. If you’re married, you’re going to be much more cautious. There’s health care costs and our jobs, whereas if we were both just kind of doing whatever, then why not just have another kid?’ said Mr. DiCaro.