Is fatherhood becoming a relic of the past?
The sad absence of fathers in American families is pervasive and has been growing for decades. In the 1960s, less than 10 percent of American children were born to single women, but as of 2013, the number had increased to 41 percent. Among Hispanic children, 54 percent are born to unwed mothers, and the figure is 72 percent for African-American children.
The institution of fatherhood is not merely a passé throwback to the mid-20th century. Active and engaged fatherhood is an integral part of nature’s design. As Rutgers University’s David Popenoe states, “The contribution of fathers to child-rearing is unique and irreplaceable.”
Research shows the absence of fathers in the home is associated with poorer outcomes for children. Children with involved fathers are more likely to graduate from college, and children raised by both their married mothers and fathers are far less likely to be poor and less likely to engage in delinquent behaviors or become teen parents.
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