Single-Father Households

How do Children of Single-Father Households Fare Relative to Children of Two-Parent Families?




Juveniles committed to juvenile prisons (Texas):
bulletLess than 1% are from single father homes
bullet20% are from 2-parent homes
bullet79% are from fatherless homes


As to the welfare issue, might we quote from the Congressional testimony of David Burgess, MSPH (Ways and Means Committee, 1995): "... welfare should not be a substitute for father, instead father should be a substitute for welfare."

Why does David Burgess believe this?  Carefully consider what the above statistics mean. An average of 4% of our nation's children grew up in single-father households, an average of 30% grew up in single-mother households, and an average of 60% grew up in two-parent families, with the remaining 6% growing up with grandparents, foster homes, uncles and aunts, etc.  Children from single-father households are under-represented in juvenile prisons by 4 times, and children from two-parent families are under-represented by 3 times--BUT children from single-mother households are OVER-represented by TWO AND ONE HALF TIMES (2 1/2 x).

bulletChildren from single-father households are under-represented in juvenile prisons by 4X.
bulletChildren from two-parent families are under-represented by 3X.
bulletChildren from single-mother households are OVER-represented by 2.5X.

This means that children from single-mother households are 7.5 times more likely to end up in juvenile prisons than children of two-parent families.

AND--that children of single-mother households are ten times more likely than the children of single-father households to end up in juvenile prisons. 



If children of single-father households are less likely than children of two-parent families to go to juvenile prisons, then it is probable that they also fare much better in other areas as well (in education, morally, in religious values, financially, socially, psychologically, in future income and tax paying potential, etc.)

The goal of the Fathers' Manifesto is not to shift children from single-mother households, or worse from two-parent families, to single-father households.  The goal is to eliminate fatherlessness by discouraging divorce, and this requires that the financial and moral incentives to break up families be removed from the 85% of the mothers who currently file for divorce each year. Feminists object that all this would do is shift the children from single-mother households to single-father households.  We disagree.  Experts disagree.


Worldwide and historic statistics support that a presumption of father custody would reduce divorce by 90-95%, which would be a noble and important accomplishment.  But if the feminist critics are correct (a real first), and if the number of single-father households did increase, then the above example of how well children of single-father households fare suggests that the long term benefits would be of even greater benefit to society than merely ending fatherlessness with two-parent families.

Overshooting the goal would be a good thing for children, and for society.

And for the first time, the feminists would be right.