Information Resources

Basic Facts

* According to the U.S. Census Current Population Report on Custodial Mothers and Fathers and their Child Support:

– About 5 of every 6 custodial parents were mothers (84.4 percent) and 1 in 6 were fathers (15.6 percent), proportions statistically unchanged since 1994

* According to a 1999 report of the Department of Health and Human Services:

-Girls without a father in their life are two and a half times as likely to get pregnant and 53 percent more likely to commit suicide.

-Boys without a father in their life are 63 percent more likely to run away and 37 percent more likely to abuse drugs.

-Both girls and boys are twice as likely to drop out of high school, twice as likely to end up in jail and nearly four times as likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems.

* In 2003, 20,952 entries for divorce were filed in Massachusetts courts.
* According to the Census Bureau’s 2002 Survey of Women and Men in the United States:

-Men were more likely than women never to have been married (32 percent and 25 percent, respectively).

-Women were more likely than men to be divorced or separated (13 percent compared with 10 percent), and much more likely to be widowed (10 percent compared with 3 percent).

* 75 percent of custodial mothers move at least once within four years after separation or divorce, according to the Senate Committee on Judiciary, Report on Family Law: Relocation of Custodial Parents.

* The following are recent statistics about children of divorce and separation from the newsletter Common Sense & Domestic Violence, 1998 01 30

Allegations of family violence are the weapon-of-choice in divorce strategies. Lawyers, and paralegals in women’s shelters, call them “The Silver Bullet”. False abuse allegations work effectively in removing men from their families. The impact that the removal of fathers has on our children is horrific.

The Impact on our Children Inter-spousal violence perpetrated by men is only a small aspect of family violence. False abuse allegations are only a small tile in the mosaic of vilifying the men in our society. They serve well in successful attempts to remove fathers from the lives of our children.

Here are some statistics resulting from that, which show more of the whole picture.
• 79.6% of custodial mothers receive a support award
• 29.9% of custodial fathers receive a support award.
• 46.9% of non-custodial mothers totally default on support.
• 26.9% of non-custodial fathers totally default on support.
• 20.0% of non-custodial mothers pay support at some level
• 61.0% of non-custodial fathers pay support at some level
• 66.2% of single custodial mothers work less than full time.
• 10.2% of single custodial fathers work less than full time.
• 7.0% of single custodial mothers work more than 44 hours weekly.
• 24.5% of single custodial fathers work more that 44 hours weekly.
• 46.2% of single custodial mothers receive public assistance.
• 20.8% of single custodial fathers receive public assistance.
[Technical Analysis Paper No. 42 – U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services – Office of Income Security Policy]
• 40% of mothers reported that they had interfered with the fathers visitation to punish their ex-spouse. [“Frequency of Visitation” by Sanford Braver, American Journal of Orthopsychiatry]
• 50% of mothers see no value in the fathers continued contact with his children. [“Surviving the Breakup” by Joan Berlin Kelly]
• 90.2% of fathers with joint custody pay the support due.
• 79.1% of fathers with visitation privileges pay the support due.
• 44.5% of fathers with no visitation pay the support due.
• 37.9% of fathers are denied any visitation.
• 66% of all support not paid by non-custodial fathers is due to the inability to pay. [1988 Census “Child Support and Alimony: 1989 Series” P-60, No. 173 p.6-7, and “U.S. General Accounting Office Report” GAO/HRD-92-39FS January 1992]
• 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes. [U. S. D.H.H.S. Bureau of the Census]
• 90% of all homeless and runaway children are from fatherless homes.
• 85% of all children that exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes. [Center for Disease Control]
• 80% of rapist motivated with displaced anger come from fatherless homes. [Criminal Justice and Behavior, Vol. 14 p. 403-26]
• 71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes. [National Principals Association Report on the State of High Schools]
• 70% of juveniles in state operated institutions come from fatherless homes [U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept., 1988]
• 85% of all youths sitting in prisons grew up in a fatherless home. [Fulton County Georgia Jail Populations and Texas Dept. of Corrections, 1992]
• Nearly 2 of every 5 children in America do not live with their fathers. [US News and World Report, February 27, 1995, p.39]

There are:
• 11,268,000 total custodial mothers
• 2,907,000 total custodial fathers
[Current Populations Reports, US Bureau of the Census, Series P-20, No. 458, 1991]
What does this mean? Children from fatherless homes are:
• 4.6 times more likely to commit suicide,
• 6.6 times to become teenaged mothers (if they are girls),
• 24.3 times more likely to run away,
• 15.3 times more likely to have behavioral disorders,
• 6.3 times more likely to be in a state-operated institutions,
• 10.8 times more likely to commit rape,
• 6.6 times more likely to drop out of school,
• 15.3 times more likely to end up in prison while a teenager.
(The calculation of the relative risks shown in the preceding list is based on 27% of children being in the care of single mothers.)

AND — compared to children who are in the care of two biological, married parents — children who are in the care of single mothers are:
• 33 times more likely to be seriously abused (so that they will require medical attention), and
• 73 times more likely to be killed.[“Marriage: The Safest Place for Women and Children”, by Patrick F. Fagan and Kirk A. Johnson, Ph.D. Backgrounder #1535.]

According to U.S. Census Bureau and from the textbook: Diversity In Families, 7th edition, c. 2005, by Maxine Baca Zinn and D. Stanley Eitzen the following is true:

•The disproportionate number of single-parent families headed by a woman is a consequence, first, of the relatively high divorce rate and the very strong tendency for divorced and separated women to have custody of their children. Second, there is the relatively high rate of never-married mothers (in 1960, 5 percent of US babies were born to unmarried mothers; in 2000, one-third were).

•In 2001, 26 percent of the children living in single-parent families headed by women were poor, compared to 5 percent of children in two-parent families.

•About 16 percent of all children living with a single parent reside with their father. In Eaton, Ingham, Clinton, and Ionia counties, 13,960 households were headed by a single parent in 2000, and about 2,200 of those households were headed by single fathers.

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