Multiple studies have shown that father absence can be linked to most societal ills, especially those impacting the growth, health and well-being of children.
When dads are present and positively engaged, children thrive, families prosper and communities are made safer and stronger.
Get The Facts
The Impact of Father Absence
Children who grow up without the presence of their biological fathers are, on average, at least two to three times more likely to be poor. According to the National Center for Children in Poverty, 23% of children in SC live in poverty and more than 50% live in low-income households.
Teens without fathers are twice as likely to be involved in early sexual activity and seven times more likely to get pregnant as an adolescent.
Youth are more at risk of first substance use without a highly involved father. Studies indicate as much as 75% of adolescent patients in chemical abuse centers come from fatherless homes.
According to the UNICEF report on the well-being of children, 71% of high school dropouts are fatherless. Children with absent fathers have more trouble academically, scoring poorly on tests, develop critical thinking skills and are less likely to attain academic or professional success as adults.
Father absence increases the likelihood of youth delinquency and crime, including violent crime. Statistics show 85% of youth in prison have an absent father. Additionally, fatherless children are more likely to go to jail as adults.
Recent studies have shown that actively involved fathers positively influence early childhood development and school readiness. Children who grow up with a positive paternal relationship are 43% more likely to earn A’s in school and 33% less likely to repeat a grade than those without engaged dads.
Love and support from both parents are crucial, but a father uniquely contributes to the intellectual, social, and emotional well-being of his child. The sense of security and eagerness to explore is heightened in babies born to involved fathers. In early childhood, engaged fathers influence development of self-esteem, risk-taking and cognitive functioning. Adolescents and teens are likely to stay in school, go to college and excel in career and economic achievements.
Scholars now know that boys and girls who grow up with an involved father, as well as an involved mother, enjoy elevated levels of physical and mental health, become better problem-solvers, and are more confident and empathetic. They also show greater moral sensitivity and self-control. Fatherless children are consistently overrepresented on a wide range of mental health problems, particularly anxiety, depression and suicide.
When a dad is present, economically stability is more likely for children and families. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, children from absent-father homes are 3x more likely to be living in poverty. An absent father also means less networking connections to aid children in pursuing well-paid jobs.
Fathers play a vital role in creating significantly safer neighborhoods. Crime rates - from violent crimes to criminal mischief - are markedly lower in communities with engaged dads than those with high father absence. Dads play an important role not only in socializing their daughters and sons, but also in making sure that the young people in the community behave themselves.
Learn What we’re doing to reconnect fathers and families.
How You Can Help
Raise your voice for Fathers and all the kids who need and deserve a loving, engaged and responsible Dad
- Follow the Center and your local program on social media and subscribe to our newsletter.
- Share our Absent Dad Campaign posts and tweets on your social media to help educate others about how much fathers matter
- Invite us to speak or consult with you or an organization you are affiliated with. Just tell us what you need.
As excellent stewards of our donor dollars, we run a lean operation and we can always use free help. We know the adage that “many hands make light work” is 100% true!
Volunteer opportunities are available at these fatherhood organizations:
US Census Bureau
US Department of Health and Human Services
Administration of Children and Families
National Center for Children in Poverty
Pew Research Center