Pew Survey: Growth of Single Father Households Passing Single Mother Households

A recent study by Pew Research has found that over the past few decades the rate of single father households with minor children has risen faster than single mother households.

In results released last week, Pew's Social & Demographic Trends project found that single father homes with minor children went up from below 300,000 in 1960 to over 2.6 million in 2011, representing a ninefold increase.

By contrast, the rate of single mother households with minor children went from 1.9 million in 1960 to 8.6 million in 2011, or a fourfold increase.

Whereas, in 1960, single father homes with minor children made up 14 percent of all single parent homes, by 2011 they made up 24 percent.

"In this report, fathers include those men who are ages 15 or older, who are the head of their household, and who report living with their own minor children," wrote Gretchen Livingston of Pew on Friday.

"The increase in single father households is likely due to a number of factors, most of which have also contributed to the increase in single mother households, and to the decline of two-married-parent households."

Vincent DiCaro, vice president of Development and Communication for the National Fatherhood Initiative, told The Christian Post that there were "economic and cultural" reasons for this trend.

"More women and moms are working, so dads have had to take up their share of housework and child care," said DiCaro.

"Culturally, we are more accepting of fathers taking on a more holistic role in families, although this attitude shift has mainly happened in the middle class."

DiCaro also told CP that regardless of who was head of the household, children are better off "when raised by their two married parents."

"So any increase in single parent homes, be they moms or dads, is generally not good news for kids," said DiCaro.

"They tend to face more challenges emotionally and economically when raised absent one of their parents."

The data used for the Pew findings was derived from an analysis of the Decennial Census and American Community Survey.

Other findings included single fathers being more likely to be cohabiting than single mothers and single fathers generally having higher incomes than single mothers.

Livingston of Pew also wrote that compared to fathers who were the head of a married two-parent household, single fathers "are younger, less educated, less financially well-off and less likely to be white."

"The educational attainment of single father householders is markedly lower than that of married father householders," wrote Livingston.

"In terms of household financial status, single fathers are much better off than single mothers, and much worse off than married fathers."

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