Five Facts About Single Fathers


Ever since the family movie “The Pursuit of Happyness” from 13 years ago, there have been more and more children from single-parent families who lived with their fathers. The percentage of father-led single-parent households since 2007 has increased since then by 12.5%, making a total of 16.1% according to the US Census Bureau.

However, most children in the US generally still stay or have two parents, but there is a 27.1% who live with one parent only. But most of the times they live with their moms, making single mothers a considerable part of single-parent families. However, the number of kids who live with their single father increased from 1% in the 1960s and became a 4.35% back in 2017.

It’s said that single-father families can be pointed back to two factors in culture. One is wherein men are seen as the more capable parents and thus are more accepted by society as single fathers. The second one is the willingness of the court to hand over the custody to single dads.


Here are five facts about single-dad families and characteristics.

Majority of the single fathers came from divorce. Majority of the kids who live with their fathers are the ones who have their dads divorced. On the other hand, the number of people who live with fathers who have never been married increased too. About 49% of moms end up not being pregnant.

Single fathers are mostly educated, older and white. The NCFMR or National Center for Family & Marriage found out that single moms are least likely to have a bachelor’s degree and graduated high school as compared to a single dad. Single fathers also tend to be older than single moms.

Single fathers can be cohabiting. Pew Research Center saw that there were 41% of the single fathers who live with their partner; this is more than the 16% counterpart of women. Those who cohabit with single dads often see their disadvantages in most situations.

More financially stable. It was reported that a single dad with two children has the annual income o $40,000 as compared to the $26,000 of a single mom with the same amount of children (see more details here: Family Education). However, if you compared this to married parents, single fathers are still more likely to be poor with how there are 19.9% of related children with single fathers in poverty as compared to the 8.4% of the related children who have married parents.

Researches about single fathers are very limited compared that of the mother’s. There is also a literature review of studies of single fathers from Roberta Coles having relationships back from the 1970s to 2015.

According to the said literature review, while there may be some exceptions, generally in the relationship of children and single fathers, children internalize behavior and academic performance while their single fathers are more likely to externalize them and do substance use instead. However, the few studies regarding young adults show different results and don’t show any significant differences long term like related to factors like marriage, early pregnancy, and divorce between the ones who have grown up in single fathers versus single mother homes.


Researchers from Child Trends had a study with almost 4,000 young adults as their sample to see the effects of fathers’ involvement and parenting outcomes based on the characteristics of families with single fathers. This study stood out among others as it had differentiated the difference between cohabiting fathers from lone fathers. Families with cohabiting single fathers tended to have fewer activities as a family like eating food together whereas those single fathers who live with a partner tended to have less awareness and closeness about their families as compared to other parents. Children who have fathers who cohabit or have a partner may face problems and challenges due to their father’s level of involvement with them regarding parenting.

According to a stud from the Journal of Family and Child Studies which used the data from National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent to Adult Health to see how being raised in a family with a single-parent would affect adolescents aged 15 to 19 and their sexual behavior. There were only a few differences when it came to the results related to sex between those who live with single mothers or single fathers.

Although the numbers of single-parent families are growing, single fathers are a unique percentage of it. There are ways on how they differ from single mothers, but both need the same kind of support like support from the other parent if they’re still in the picture or from other family members and support network if the other parent isn’t in the picture anymore. With how single fathers are more likely to struggle for money more as compared to married parents, they can better benefit services and support from the government. These single fathers also need more support groups whether community-based or online to help them cope with their needs.