Dad Stats

There is a wide range of research and statistics related to the effect that fathers can have on their children. These statistics give an overview of some of the statistics about fathers and father involvement that is available.

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Census Fatherhood Statistics
Father Involvement and Education

Census Fatherhood Statistics

70.1 million: Estimated number of fathers across the nation.
24.4 million: Number of fathers who were part of married-couple families with children younger than 18 in 2012

  • 21 percent were raising three or more children younger than 18 (among married-couple family households only).
  • 3 percent lived in someone else's home.

1.96 million: Number of single fathers in 2012; 16 percent of custodial single parents were men.

  • Nine percent were raising three or more children younger than 18.
  • About 44 percent were divorced, 31 percent were never married, 20 percent were separated, and 5 percent were widowed.
  • 42 percent had an annual family income of $50,000 or more.

189,000: Estimated number of stay-at-home dads in 2012. These married fathers with children younger than 15 have remained out of the labor force for at least one year primarily so they can care for the family while their wives work outside the home. These fathers cared for upwards of 369,000 children.

18% - In spring 2011, the percentage of preschoolers regularly cared for by their father during their mother's working hours.

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Father Involvement and Education

When fathers are involved in the lives of their children, especially their education, their children learn more, perform better in school, and exhibit healthier behavior. Even when fathers do not share a home with their children, their active involvement can have a lasting and positive impact. There are countless ways to be involved in your child’s education at all ages.

According to a 2007 National Center for Education Statistics Report:

  • 92% of students in grades K though 12 had parents who reported receiving any information from the school on the student’s performance.
  • 83% had parents who received any information about how to help with homework.
  • 59% of students in grades K through 12 had parents who were "very satisfied" with their child’s school; 55% had parents who were very satisfied with the school’s parent-staff interactions.

The presence of a responsible father promotes improves academic performance and reduces disciplinary problems among children.

Preschoolers with actively involved fathers have stronger verbal skills.
Radin, N., 1982, “Primary Caregiving and Role-Sharing Fathers,” in Non- Traditional Families: Parenting and Child Development, edited by M. Lamb, Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum, pp. 173–204.

Children with actively involved fathers display less behavior problems in school.
Amato, P.R., and Rivera, F., 1999, “Paternal Involvement and Children’s Behavior Problems,” Journal of Marriage and the Family, 61, 375–384.

Girls with strong relationships with their fathers do better in mathematics.
Radin, N., and Russell, G., 1983, “Increased Father Participation and Child Development Outcomes,” in Fatherhood and Family Policy, edited by M.E. Lamb and A. Sagi, Hillside, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum, pp. 191–218.

Boys with actively involved fathers tend to get better grades and perform better on achievement tests.
Biller, H.B. 1993, Fathers and Families: Paternal Factors in Child Development, Westport, CT: Auburn House.

Research shows that even very young children who have experienced high father involvement show an increase in curiosity and in problem solving capacity. Fathers’ involvement seems to encourage children’s exploration of the world around them and confidence in their ability to solve problems.
Pruett, Kyle D. 2000. Fatherneed: Why Father Care is as Essential as Mother Care for Your Child. New York: Free Press.

Highly involved fathers also contribute to increased mental dexterity in children, increased empathy, less stereotyped sex role beliefs and greater self-control.
Abramovitch, H. 1997. Images of the "Father" in The Role of the Father in Child Development. M.E. Lamb, Ed., New York: John Wiley & Sons.

When non-custodial fathers are highly involved with their children’s learning, the children are more likely to get A's at all grade levels.
National Center for Education Statistics. October 1997. Fathers’ Involvement in Their Children’s Schools; National Household Education Survey. NCES 98-091R2. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education.

Nonresident father contact with children and involvement in their schools within the past year are associated with the same three factors: fathers paying child support; custodial mothers being more educated; and custodial homes not experiencing financial difficulties.
National Center for Education Statistics. October 1997. Fathers’ Involvement in Their Children’s Schools; National Household Education Survey. NCES 98-091R2. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Department of Education.

High involvement at the early childhood level - frequency with which parents interact with their young children, such as how often they read, tell stories and sign and play with their children. These experiences contribute to children’s language and literacy development and transmit information and knowledge about people, places and things.
Bredekamp, S. and Copple, C. 1997. Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs. Washington, D.C.: National Association for the Education of Young Children.

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White House logo
In response to President Obama’s call for a national conversation on responsible fatherhood and healthy families, learn how you can join the President's Fatherhood and Mentoring Initiative.
Información en Español
En respuesta al llamado del presidente Obama para una conversación nacional sobre la paternidad responsable y las familias saludables, aprender cómo usted puede unirse a la Iniciativa Presidencial de Padres y Mentores.