A review of data from the United States Census and other sources reveals that the trend in father absence is stabilizing. Currently, approximately one-third of all children in the United States do not live with their biological father and 27 percent of children live in single-parent homes. Thirty-three percent of births in the year 2000 were to unwed parents. Almost half of the children who do not live with their father have not seen their father in at least one year. Fatherlessness is related to child poverty, drug use, educational problems, and health and behavioral problems. Children living apart from their biological father also are more likely to be abused than children in intact families. Children who have involved and nurturing fathers usually perform better in school and have healthy levels of self-esteem and empathy for other people. Father involvement appears to be related to marital status. This report provides statistics about trends in father absence, out-of-wedlock childbearing, and divorce, as well as child custody, child support awards, and cohabitation. The impact of father absence on child abuse, crime, substance abuse, education, emotional and physical health, and poverty are discussed. A state-by-state analysis of living arrangements is included. Numerous figures and tables.
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