The Fatherless Dilemma

More than 19.7 million children live in a home without the physical presence of a father. 50% of that number is made up of African American boys under the age of 17 years old. Millions more have dads who are physically present, but emotionally absent. If it were classified as a disease, fatherless would be an epidemic worthy of attention as a national emergency.

6 Effects of Fatherless Homes:

As supported by the data below, children from fatherless homes are more likely to be poor, become involved in drug and alcohol abuse, drop out of school, and suffer from health and emotional problems. Boys are more likely to become involved in crime, and girls are more likely to become pregnant as teens.



1. Poverty
Children in father-absent homes are almost four times more likely to be poor. In 2011, 12 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 44 percent of children in mother-only families.

2. Drug and Alcohol Abuse
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services states, “Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse.”

3. Physical and Emotional Health
A study of 1,977 children age 3 and older living with a residential father or father figure found that children living with married biological parents had significantly fewer externalizing and internalizing behavioral problems than children living with at least one non-biological parent.

4. Educational Achievement
Children in grades 7-12 who have lived with at least one biological parent, youth that experienced divorce, separation, or nonunion birth reported lower grade point averages than those who have always lived with both biological parents.
Children living with their married biological father tested at a significantly higher level than those living with a non-biological father.

5. Crime
Adolescents living in intact families are less likely to engage in delinquency than their peers living in non-intact families. Compared to peers in intact families, adolescents in single-parent families and step-families were more likely to engage in delinquency. This relationship appeared to be operating through differences in family processes—parental involvement, supervision, monitoring, and parent child closeness—between intact and non-intact families.

6. Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy
A study using a sample of 1409 rural southern adolescents (851 females and 558 males) aged 11 – 18 years, investigated the correlation between father absence and self-reported sexual activity. The results revealed that adolescents in father-absence homes were more likely to report being sexually active compared to adolescents living with their fathers.