The share of fathers who are residing with their children has fallen dramatically in the past half century, according to a Pew survey. While in 1960, only 11 percent of children lived away from their father in 1960, now more than one in four children is separated from their father. Fathers who do live with their children, however, spend more time with their children than they did in previous generations.
But declining marriage rates, increases in out-of-wedlock births and the phenomenon of having children with multiple partners have given rise to complicated family structures. Nearly half of all fathers (46 percent) now report that at least one of their children was born out of wedlock, and 31 percent report that all of their children were born out of wedlock. Almost 20 percent of men with kids have fathered those children with more than one woman.
Black fathers are more than twice as likely as white fathers to live apart from their children (44% vs. 21%), while Hispanic fathers fall in the middle (35%). Among fathers who never completed high school, 40% live apart from their children. This compares with only 7% of fathers who graduated from college.
A father’s presence in the home is closely related to how he evaluates the job he is doing as a parent. Nearly 9 in 10 fathers who live with their children rate themselves as good or great fathers while those who don’t live with their children are much more negative.
Fathers who are absent from their children’s home are, as you could probably figure out, much less likely to eat a meal with their children, help them with homework and talk to them about their day’s events. Communicating by phone or email is more prevalent than face-to-face contact for fathers who live away from their children.
Fathers live away from their children for all sorts of reasons. But these statistics reveal a sad situation for many children and their parents. Children raised by single parents are more likely to suffer in poverty, have less education, and have a harder time escaping their socio-economic situation. These are not statistics to be proud of.