 
SMHs
Fatherless Children Are Eight Times
More Likely to Be Imprisoned
FATHERS' MANIFESTO Home Page
The second column below is the type of families which
prison inmates grew up in, the third column is the percent of family types ten to twenty
years ago when they were growing up, and the fourth column is Percent in Prison divided by
Percent of Households, or Relative Risk.
Type of Household 
Percent of Prison Population 
Percent of All Households 
Relative Risk 
SingleFather Households 
0.5% 
4 
.12 
TwoParent Families 
11% 
58 
.19 
Joint Custody Households 
12% 
17 
.71 
Fatherless Households 
76.5% 
20 
3.8 
Fatherless Households include never married single
mothers, divorced and not remarried single mothers, stepfather households, and foster
homes.
Children who grew up in fatherless households are 20 times
more likely to be imprisoned than children who grew up in families, and 32 times more
likely than children who grew up in Fatheronly households.
The sevenfold increase in fatherlessness caused a
quintupling of the prison population rate in the last four decades. A reduction in the
rate of fatherlessness would significantly reduce the incarceration rate. For example,
assuming the relationship between the fatherlessness rate and the incarceration rate is a
constant and that there are no other variables:
 A reduction in the % of "Fatherless Households"
from 21% to 10.5%, and a corresponding increase in the % of "TwoParent Homes"
from 62% to 73.5%, would reduce the Relative Risk of 30% of the prison population from
2.86 to .32. If the prison population is 1.5 million, and if 30% or 450,000 would have
been 2.86/.32 = 8.94 less likely to have been in prison, then the number of inmates would
have been 399,664 lower.
 A reduction in the % of "Fatherless Households"
from 21% to 10.5%, and a corresponding increase in the % of "SingleFather
Homes" from 6% to 17.5% would reduce the Relative Risk of 30% of the prison
population from 2.86 to .17. If the prison population is 1.5 million, and if 30% or
450,000 would have been 2.86/.17 = 16.8 less likely to have been in prison, then the
number of inmates would have been 423,215 lower.
 
