Pew Report On Fatherhood Finds Many Are Absent

Why Are There So Many Absentee Dads?

The number of children living apart from their fathers has more than doubled in the last fifty years, from 11 percent in 1960 to 27 percent in 2010.

That’s one of the key findings from a new report on fatherhood in the United the States that was released Wednesday by the Pew Research Center’s Social & Demographic Trends project--just in time for Father’s Day.

The findings paint a grim picture of many fathers’ lack of involvement in their children’s lives, using data from over 10,000 people to determine the percentage of "absent" or “non-resident” fathers in America, which the report defines as those who do not live with their children.

A decline in marriage rates may be partially to blame. In 1960, 72 percent of the adult population was married; that share had dropped to 52 percent by 2008. Eighty seven percent of children ages 17 and younger were living with two married parents in 1960 compared with 64 percent in 2008.

According to the report’s co-author Gretchen Livingston, an increase in divorce rates over the last half-century may also play a role.

“We see that the share of children living apart from their dads has more than doubled from 11 percent in 1960 to 27 percent in 2008, and at that same we see that three-fold increase in divorce,” she said. “Clearly the trends fit together.”

Here, some of the most interesting findings.

Income Influences Absence

Pew Fatherhood Report