NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 14, 2006

A federal study on crime seems to be ignoring the "huge gorilla" in the midst of a violent crime increase: boys without fathers, says Patrick Fagan, the William H.G. FitzGerald Fellow at the Heritage Foundation.  

  • According to a recent National Review article, out-of-wedlock births now account for 36.8 percent of all births, an increase of 3 percent since the early 2000s.
  • By 2006, it is expected that one in every two Hispanic children will be born out-of-wedlock.

Those statistics often correlate into increased crime, particularly when the father is the one who is absent:

  • According to the U.S. Center for Disease Control, some 85 percent of all children exhibiting behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
  • Studies going back a quarter century show that 80 percent of rapists and 70 percent of juveniles in state-operated institutions are from fatherless homes.

Sociologist Bradford Wilcox said there are good reasons for the correlation.

"Boys that grow up in fatherless homes engage in compensatory masculinity," explained Wilcox.  "They try to separate themselves from their mothers, yet prove their masculinity by being more aggressive, more violent and more sexually active.  Without an appropriate model in the home, they do not learn the appropriate cues."

Source: Tim Drake, "The Father Factor -- Crime on the Increase in 'Dad-Free' Zones," National Catholic Register, December 13, 2006.

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