WASHINGTON, D.C., January 4, 2013, (LifeSiteNews.com) – The number of children living in single-parent homes has nearly doubled since 1960, according to data from the 2010 Census.
The Washington Times analyzed the most recent census data, showing that the percentage of two-parent families has dropped significantly over the past decade in all 50 states. Even as the total number of American households with children increased by 160,000, the number of two-parent households decreased by 1.2 million.
Today, one-third of American children – a total of 15 million – are being raised without a father. Nearly five million more children live without a mother.
Vincent DiCaro, vice president of the National Fatherhood Initiative, blames this trend for many of society’s ills. He claims the way to deal with poverty, drugs, crime and other hot-button cultural issues is to strengthen the two-parent family. Deal with absent fathers, he says, and the rest follows.
A growing number of studies show that fatherlessness has a major negative impact on the social and emotional development of children.
A 2011 University of Melbourne study found that absent fathers were linked with higher rates of juvenile delinquency, while a Canadian study showed that kids whose fathers were active parents in early and middle childhood had fewer behavior problems and higher intellectual abilities as they grew older, even among socio-economically at-risk families.
Children without fathers are much more likely to grow up in poverty. While married couples with children enjoy an average income of $80,000, single mothers average only $24,000.
Though poverty is the primary risk factor for fatherlessness, absenteeism among fathers has also been overwhelmingly a black problem, regardless of poverty status, reports the Times.
The majority of black children nationwide – 54 percent – are being raised by single mothers. Only 12 percent of black families below the poverty line have both parents present, compared with 41 percent of poor Hispanic families and 32 percent of poor white families.
In all but eleven states, most black children do not live with both parents. In every state, 70 percent of white children do. In all but two states, most Hispanic children do.
But the move toward single-parent homes has included every race. There are now 1,500 neighborhoods in America with substantial white populations where most white households lack fathers, including Curtis Bay in Baltimore, Millcreek outside Salt Lake City, and Vancouver, Wa. Maine, Vermont and West Virginia are the states with the lowest rates of two-parent households among whites.
The Washington Times’ analysis of census data showed that even in places where the black population declined, single parenthood is increasing. In South Carolina, where the black share of the population fell by two percent, single parenthood rose by five percent. In Kentucky and Louisiana, where the black population stayed the same, single parenthood increased six percent.
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“Something has to be done about it, and it starts with the culture and reversing the attitude that marriage is not important,” DiCaro told the Times. “[P]resident [Obama] has a role to play in that. He’s a married African-American father who can probably make a huge difference with words alone.”
The Times has produced an interactive map showing the highest and lowest rates of fatherlessness across the country. It shows the highest concentrations of fatherless households in the inner cities and rural South, with the lowest rates in more affluent, predominately white suburbs.
You can see the interactive map of areas with the most and least fatherless families here.