Monday, July 22, 2013

More U.S. Households Headed by Single Dads


New Child Custody Laws Have Spurred Some of This Growth


Men are increasingly heading up single-family households in the United States, now making up nearly one in four single-parent families.



Those are the latest findings by the Pew Research Center, which showed that the number of single father households has multiplied eight times since 1960, when less than 300,000 U.S. households were headed by single dads. Today, that number has swelled to more than 2.6 million.

Why?

Divorce rates have leveled off in recent decades but they are still higher than they were in the 1960s and 1970s.

Easier for Dads to Gain Custody

Two factors have had a profound effect on the number of dads heading single-family households today. Child custody laws today make it easier than in previous decades for dads to gain custody of their children. And society has a differing view of fathers, who are now expected to play a bigger role in their children’s lives than they did in the past.

As a result of so many changes, only 67 percent of households with minor children include two married parents today, compared to 92 percent of households with minor children in 1960.

Who is the Single Dad?

The Pew Research Center classified as single dads men in a variety of family circumstances. About half are separated, divorced, widowed or never married and are living without a cohabiting partner; 41 percent are living with a non-marital partner; and less than 10 percent are married but living apart from their spouse.

The study also found that there are stark differences between single dads and single moms.

How is the Single Dad Doing?

The single dad is likely to be living with a cohabiting partner, have a higher income, be far less likely to be living at or close to the poverty line, be slightly less educated, older and more likely to be white.

The younger, less educated single dads tend to be cohabiting with someone and be living at or near the poverty line. Those who were better off financially and were better educated tended to be older.

Educational level is closely tied to the prevalence of single fatherhood: the more education a father has, the less likely he is to head a single-parent family.

At Aretsky & Aretsky, we can help you with any child custody issue you may be having.

Photo credit: Rik

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