Home > Statistics and Research > Contributors to Fatherlessness

Most research focuses on two major causes for the growth in fatherlessness since the early 1960’s: divorce and out-of-wedlock births.

1. Divorce

– The number of divorced adults in 2008 was 8,444,000 compared to 393,000 in 1960.

Source: US National Center for Health Statistics, Vital Statistics of the United States, and National Vital Statistics Report, Table 78.

us%20divorces%20by%20year

*NOTES: The number above for the year 2000 excludes data for 4 states: California, Indiana, Louisiana, and Oklahoma.

The number for the year 2010 excludes data for 6 states: California, Georgia, Hawaii, Indiana, Louisiana, and Minnesota.

Sources: US National Center for Health Statistics, Vital Statistics of the United States, and National Vital Statistics Report, Table 78

CDC/NCHS National Vital Statistics System.

http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/nvss/marriage_divorce_tables.htm

– In a nationally representative survey of adults ages 20-29, 88% agreed that the divorce rate is too high and that the U.S. would be better off if we had fewer divorces.

Source: Whitehead, Barbara Dafoe, and David Popenoe. “The State of Our Unions 2001: The Social Health of Marriage in America.” Piscataway, NJ: The National Marriage Project, 2001.

– In a telephone survey of 1,503 people, 94% agreed that divorce is a serious national problem.

Source: National Fatherhood Initiative. With This Ring …: A National Survey on Marriage in America. Gaithersburg, MD, 2005: 4.

– 50% of all the children born to married parents today will experience the divorce of their parents before they are 18 years old.

Source: Fagan, Fitzgerald and Rector, Robert. “The Effects of Divorce On America” June 5, 2000
http://www.heritage.org/research/reports/2000/06/the-effects-of-divorce-on-america


2. Out-of-Wedlock Births

– 40.6% of all newborns in 2008 were born to unmarried parents, a total of 1,727,950 children, the highest ever reported — up from 224,300 in 1960.

Out-of-Wedlock Births

1960 – 224,300
1970 – 398,700
1980 – 666,700
1990 – 1,165,000
2000 – 1,346,000
2008 – 1,727,950

Source: Ventura, Stephanie J., and Christine A. Bachrach. Non Marital Childbearing in the United States: 1940 – 99. National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 48, NO. 16. Table A. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics, 2000; see also Martin, Joyce A., Brady E. Hamilton, and Stephanie J. Ventura. Births: Preliminary Data for 2000. National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 49, No. 5. Hyattsville, Maryland: National Center for Health Statistics, 2001; Hamilton, Brady E., Joyce A. Martin, and Paul D. Sutton. Births: Preliminary Data for 2003. Vol. 53, No. 9. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 2004. See also Brady E. Hamilton, Joyce A. Martin, and Stephanie J. Ventura. Births: Preliminary Data for 2006. National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 56, No. 7. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics, 2007. Brady E. Hamilton, Joyce A. Martin, and Stephanie J. Ventura. Births: Preliminary Data for 2008. National Vital Statistics Reports, Vol. 58., No. 16. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. 2010.

– Nearly one in two children in single-mother homes live with mothers who have never been married. Four decades ago, that figure was one in sixteen, one- seventh of today’s figure.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau Current Population, 2011.

 

never-married%20mothers

Source: US Census Bureau. “Children Under 18 Living with Mother Only, By Marital Status of Mother, 1960 to Present” Table CH-5. Internet Release Date, November, 2010

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