NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Single Father Households On The Rise

May 18, 2001

In about one U.S. household out of every 45, a father is raising his child or children without the mother present, according to 2000 census data.

That's a substantial increase from 1990. Single fathers say it shows greater acceptance by American families and courts that sometimes the best place for children is with Dad.

  • The number of such households rose 62 percent since 1990 -- to 2.2 million.
  • As a proportion of all households, single-father homes have risen from 0.7 percent in 1970 to 2 percent in 2000.
  • While single-father households doubled in the 1990s, single-mother homes increased just 25 percent.
  • Married couples with children made up 24 percent of all households -- down from 39 percent in 1970.

Experts attribute the rise in single fathers to a variety of factors -- including more judges awarding custody to fathers in divorce cases and more women choosing careers over family life.

Source: Associated Press, "Single-Dad Households Up Sharply in 10 Years," Washington Times, May 18, 2001.


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