Fatherless Facts

Risk Factors

Children who have equal and meaningful contact with two fit parents:

  • Are LESS likely to drop out of school;
  • Are LESS likely to run away from home;
  • Are LESS likely to become Pregnant or have an abortion;
  • Are LESS likely to commit suicide;
  • Are LESS likely to seek, or create an abusive relationship;
  • Are LESS likely to commit crimes;
  • Are LESS likely to turn to drugs or alcohol;
  • ADJUST better to separation than children with one custodian;
  • Are MORE likely to have successful relationships;
  • Are MORE likely to have healthy sleep patterns and general health.

Fatherless Facts

  • Teens’ drinking behavior is strongly associated with how they believe their fathers feel about them drinking (The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 2009)
  • When a child’s father is actively involved in his or her life, the child has better academic results. (Jones & Mosher, 2013)
  • When a father is involved in a child’s life, the child is less likely to participate in premarital sex. (National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention , 2013)
  • There is a significant association between father-adolescent communication and adolescent sexual behaviors such as increased condom use and abstinence from sex. (Guilamo-Ramos, et al., 2012)
  • The incarceration risk of a child living with just his or her mother is greatly increased compared to that of a child living with just his or her father is equal to that of a child living with both parents. It is an even more significant chance of incarceration if there is a step-father or step-father figure living in the home. (Harper & McLanahan, Center for Research on Child Well-being)
  • Over 83% of teens who have a good relationship with their father believe that smoking marijuana is a big deal and not a wise decision. (The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse, 2009)
  • Children in sole custody situations have far more sleep problems, difficulties concentrating, loss of appetite, more frequent headaches, stomachaches, and dizzy spells, and report feelings of depression and general sadness more often than children placed in custody situations where shared-parenting is involved (Bergstrom, 2015)
  • Research shows that shared parenting would result in fewer cases of truancy, delinquency, gang-related activity, few juvenile crime, and teen pregnancies. (Holstein, 2015)
  • Up to 75% of all teenagers enrolled in chemical and substance abuse programs come from single-parent homes. (Holstein, 2015)
  • 85% of incarcerated individuals were raised in single parent-homes. (Holstein, 2015)

Rate of Incarcerated Individuals from Single Family Homes

  • Women and men commit physical child abuse in almost equal proportions. (Administration for Children and Families, 2014)
  • Fathers/Fathers and Partners only perpetrate 21.6% of child abuse; whereas Mothers/Mothers and Partners commit 47.6% of all child abuse. (Administration for Children and Families, 2014)
  • Over 76% of medical neglect is committed by women. (Administration for Children and Families, 2013)
  • Under 25% of child maltreatment cases are handled by the courts. (Administration for Children and Families, 2013)
  • Women commit over 62% of all child neglect. (Administration for Children and Families, 2013)
  • Of all fatalities in the United States caused by child abuse, only 16.4% are caused by the Father/Fathers & Partner, whereas 38.9% are caused by the Mother/Mother & Partner.  (Administration for Children and Families, 2014).
  • In the United States, there are over 700,000 victims of child abuse each year (Administration for Children and Families, 2014).

Mothers/Mothers & Partners

  • At six months old, children whose fathers had been actively involved from birth scored higher on a test of mental and motor development than children whose fathers were not involved during the first eight weeks. (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2015)
  • Premature infants whose fathers spent more time playing with them had better cognitive outcomes at age three. (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2015)
  • Research indicates that shared parenting results in better academic performance and over 70% of all high-school drop outs come from a single-parent home. (Holstein, 2015)
  • Children in shared-parenting arrangements achieve far better academic test results than those living in single-parent households where sole custody is in place(Bergstrom, 2015).

Mental and Emotional Well-Being

  • Lower levels of involvement by a father have been linked to higher aggression levels. (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2015)
  • Conflict generally remains higher in sole than in shared custody families – especially if the residential parenting time is not shared. (Neilson, 2013)
  • Children in shared residential custody and those who see their fathers frequently are better off on measures of well-being even when their parents have ongoing conflict. (Neilson, 2013)
  • Children whose fathers had been actively involved from birth managed stress better during their school years. (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2015)
  • Adolescents between the ages of 14-19 have higher self-esteem and less depression when they have greater intimacy with their fathers. (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2015)
  • African American boys with married parents were found to have higher self-esteem, self-control, and feelings of personal power compared with boys who had only their mothers in the home, even when income, parental education, and the number of people living in the home were controlled. (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2015)
  • Children involved in shared parenting suffer less depression and exhibit less anger, hyperactivity, and delinquency. (Holstein, 2015)
  • Children in single-parent homes account for 63% of all teen suicides.(Holstein, 2015)

Living Arrangements, Visitation, & Relationships

  • In two national surveys with 2000 parents, dads spent 33 hours a week with the children and mothers spent 50. (Neilson, 2013)
  • Only 24% of non-custodial parents see their child(ren) once a week. (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2015)
  • Infants form strong attachments to both parents and at roughly the same time. Whatever initial preferences infants might have for one parent disappears by 18 months of age. (Neilson, 2013)
    Studies show that men worry about their children in the same capacity and at the same rate as women (TED, 2015).
  • A methodically sound ongoing study at Yale University indicates that there is no difference between the sleep problems, anxiety, aggression, and social withdrawal of children between the ages of two and four years old who spend overnights with both parents and those that stay primarily with one parent post separation. The same study shows that four to six year olds who spend overnights with a noncustodial parent have fewer problems than those that do not spend overnights, especially girls. (Neilson, 2013)
  • Infants form strong attachments to both parents and at roughly the same time. Whatever initial preferences infants might have for one parent disappears by 18 months of age. (Neilson, 2013)
  • Fathering time, especially time that is not limited mainly to weekends or to other small parcels of time, is closely associated with the quality and the endurance of the father-child(ren) relationship (Neilson, 2013).
  • Around 18 million (24 percent) children lived with a single female reference parent, while 2.6 million (4 percent) were living with a single male reference parent. (Laughlin, 2014)
  • Nine out of 10 fathers (90%) who lived with children under age 5 bathed, diapered, or dressed the children, or helped them bathe, dress, or use the toilet ‘‘every day’’ or ‘‘several times a week,’’ compared with 31% of fathers who lived apart from their children (Jones & Mosher, 2013)
  • Fathers who lived with children under age 5 were six times more likely than fathers who did not live with their young children to have read to them daily. (Jones & Mosher, 2013)
  • Research has proven that newborn babies can recognize the voice of not only their mother, but also their father and are capable of distinguishing it from the voice of other males and do so with preference (TED, 2015).
  • Up to 81% of fathers who live with their children play with them on a daily basis and an addition 18% play with their children several times a week. For non-custodial fathers, only 10% play with their children on a daily basis, 29% several days a week, and 37% have not played with their children in the last four weeks. (Jones & Mosher, 2013)
  • Over 50% of mothers expressed the belief that fathers are replaceable, both by mothers (55%) and by other males (66%). (US Department of Health and Human Services, 1996).


  • Of children with non-resident fathers, only 17% see their fathers at least once a week and the other 83% see their fathers less than weekly. Of that 83%, at least 40% of those children have not seeing their fathers at all during the previous year. (US Department of Health and Human Services, 2015)
  • There are over 5 million new domestic relation court cases each year.  (National Center for State Courts, 2015)
  • In 2011, over 28% of children under 21 years of age while the other parent(s) lived somewhere else, and over 50% of black children under the age of 21 live in a custodial-parent family. (Grall, 2013)
  • Only about 14% of custodial parents are fathers. (US Census Bureau, 2014)
  • In shared parenting families, up to 85% of the parents had not initially wanted to share, but mediation, litigation, or lawyers’ negotiations resulted in the shared parenting plan. (Neilson, 2013)
  • Up to four years after the agreement, up to 90% of families were still participating in the shared-parenting plan. (Neilson, 2013)
  • Up to 73% of separated or divorced parents have custody agreements in the form of court orders, but of those, only 23% were voluntarily agreed to. (US Department of Health and Human Services, 1996)
  • Polls have indicated that it is not just non-custodial parents who are in favor of shared parenting laws and policies being implemented; up to 86% of all adults are in favor of shared-parenting. (Holstein, 2015).

Child Support and Economics

  • The level of full-time, year-round employment for custodial mothers is 47%, while the same for fathers is over 65%. (Grall, 2013)
  • In 2011, approximately 43% of custodial mothers were receiving public assistance; while only 23% of custodial fathers received public assistance.(Grall, 2013)
  • Between 1987 and 2011, the number of stay-at-home moms increased from 28% to 44%. (US Census Bureau, 2011)
  • Over 74% of custodial parents due child support received either full or partial payments, including over 43% who received full payment. (Grall, 2013)
  • When shared custody arrangements are in place, there is a significant increase in the occurrence of child support being paid in full. (Grall, 2013)
  • The average child support payment accounted for two-thirds (66.7 percent) of the mean annual personal income for custodial parents below poverty who received full child support. (Grall, 2013)
  • The poverty rate of custodial mother families in 2011 (31.8 percent) was about double the poverty rate for custodial-father families (16.2 percent). (Grall, 2013)
  • Among custodial parents who had agreements for child support, a total of $37.9 billion in child support payments was due in 2011. (Grall, 2013)
  • In 2011, 56.7% of all custodial parents received at least one type of non-cash support, such as gifts or coverage of expenses, from the noncustodial parent(s) for their children. (Grall, 2013)
  • In 2011, over 53% of custodial mothers were awarded child support and only 28% of custodial fathers were awarded the same. (Grall, 2013)

False Accusations and Domestic Violence

  • Domestic violence against women and domestic violence against men happen in almost equal proportions. (Domestic Violence Statistics Organization, 2012)
  • Men generally do not report domestic violence in fear of ridicule by both law-enforcement and the public. (Domestic Violence Statistics Organization, 2012)
  • 63% of males (as opposed to 15% of females) have had a deadly weapon used against them in a fight with an intimate partner. (Domestic Violence Statistics Organization, 2012)
  • There is relatively little research on domestic violence against men because no organization, including the US government, is willing to fund the research. (Domestic Violence Statistics Organization, 2012)
  • In domestic violence cases where there was reciprocation, over 71% of the initiators were women, and in those cases, men were more likely to be injured than women. (Rhymes, 2014)
  • The majority of research done on males as victims of domestic violence is encompassed in research as to the reason for domestic violence on women, not by “anti-women men’s groups”. (Rhymes, 2014)

Women as Initiators of Domestic Violence when Reciprocation Occurred


  • Divorce affects one million children each year (Baker A. a., 2008).
  • In 2011, 18.2% of children had a change in the number of parents involved in their lives. (Laughlin, 2014)
  • Overall, these children are less likely to have regular meals with family, participate in extracurricular activities, read as a family, and participate in academically gifted classes. (Laughlin, 2014)
  • The share of children who live with one parent only has tripled since 1960, from about 9 percent to 27 percent. (US Census Bureau, 2015)
  • Less than half (48 percent) of households today are married couples, down from 76 percent in 1940. (US Census Bureau, 2015)
  • 214,000 Estimated number of stay-at-home dads in 2013. These married fathers with children younger than 15 have remained out of the labor force for at least one year primarily so they can care for the family while their wife works outside the home. These fathers cared for about 434,000 children. (US Census Bureau, 2014)
  • Between 1970 and 2012, the share of households that were married couples with children under 18 halved from 40 percent to 20 percent. (Vespa, Lewis, & Kreider, 2012)
  • Black children (55 percent) and Hispanic children (31 percent) were more likely to live with one parent than non-Hispanic White children (21 percent) or Asian children (13 percent).(Vespa, Lewis, & Kreider, 2012)
  • At the time of birth, 91% of fathers are involved with the mother, but by the time the child enters preschool, this number drops to less than 50% (TED, 2015)

Works Cited

  • Administration for Children and Families. (2013). Child Maltreatment. US Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Administration for Children and Families. (2014). Child Maltreatment. US Department of Health and Human Services.
  • America’s Families and Living Arrangements: 2012: Population Characteristics. US Census Bureau.
  • Baker, A. (2011). Parental Alienation: Prevention is the Key. Psychology Today.
  • Baker, A. a. (2008). Working with Alienated Children and Their Targeted Parents: Suggestions Fore Sound Practices for Mental Health Professional. Psychotherapy & Integrative Health.
  • Bergstrom, M. F. (2015, April 28). Fifty Moves a Year: Is There An Association Between Joint Physical Custody and Psychosomatic Problems in Children? Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health.
  • Domestic Violence Statistics Organization. (2012, May 16). Men: The Overlooked Victims of Domestic Violence.
  • Grall, T. (2013). Custodial Mothers and Fathers and Their Child Support: 2011. US Census Bureau.
  • Guilamo-Ramos, V., Bouris, A., Lee, J., McCarthy, K., Michael, S., Pitt-Barnes, S., et al. (2012). Paternal Influences on Adolescent Sexual Risk Behaviors: A Structured Literature Review. Pediatrics, 1313-1325.
  • Harper, C., & McLanahan, S. (Center for Research on Child Wellbeing). Father Absence and Youth Incarceration.
  • Holstein, N. (2015, May 21). Reining in our nation’s family courts.
  • Jones, J., & Mosher, W. (2013). National Health Statistics Report: Fathers’ Involvement with their Children: United States, 2006-2010. US Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Laughlin, L. (2014). A Child’s Day: Living Arrangements, Nativity, and Family Transitions: 2014 (Selected Indicators of Child Well Being): Household Economics Studies. US Census Bureau.
  • National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention . (2013).Ways to Influence Your Teen’s Sexual Risk Behavior: What Father’s Can Do. Center for Disease Control.
  • National Center for State Courts. (2015). Court Statistic Project.
  • Neilson, L. (2013). Parting Time & Shared Residental Custody: Ten Common Myths. Nebraska Lawyer, 5-8.
  • Resolution. (2014, November 24). News Release. Retrieved from Exam Results “Suffering”.
  • Rhymes, E. (2014, September 19). Women As Aggressor: The Unspoken Truth of Domestic Violence.
  • TED. (2015, May 25). First Time Fathers: A Candid View of Their Experiences. (M. Keller, Performer) Tallahassee, FL.
  • The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse. (2009). National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XIV: Teens and Parents. Columbia University.
  • US Census Bureau. (2011). Current Population Survey: Supplements. US Department of Commerce.
  • US Census Bureau. (2012). Table 335. Total Incoming Caseloads in State Trial Courts by Case Category:. US Department of Commerce.
  • US Census Bureau. (2014). America’s Families and Living Arrangements. US Department of Commerce.
  • US Census Bureau. (2014). Families and Living Arrangements: Families. US Department of Commerce.
  • US Census Bureau. (2015). One in Five Children Receive Food Stamps, Census Bureau Reports (CB15-16 *REVISED*). US Department of Commerce.
  • US Department of Health and Human Services. (1996). Non-custodial parents’ participation in their children’s lives: Evidence from the Survey of Income and Program Participation . US Department of Health and Human Services.
  • US Department of Health and Human Services. (2015, April 17). Office of ADolescent Health. Retrieved May 18, 2015, from Fatherhood E-Learning Module: http://www.hhs.gov/ash/oah/resources-and-publications/learning/fatherhood/
  • Vespa, J., Lewis, J., & Kreider, R. (2012).