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Single dad households on the rise

by AirTalk®

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The numbers of single fathers are on the rise--in 2011 there were an estimated 2.6 million compared to just 300,000 in 1960. singleparentspecials/Flickr

Single dad households on the rise: The number of American households headed by a single father has significantly grown in the last five decades, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center.

Single fathers have risen nine-fold from 300,000 in 1960s to over 2.6 million in 2011. Nearly 8% of households are now headed by a single dad. Back in 1960 single dads made up just 14% of all single parents, now that number is 25%--nearly a quarter. Single fathers have an average income of $40,000, much higher than the average $26,000 for single mother households. The study also shows the change in the public perception of the role of fathers.

An opinion survey also conducted by Pew found that providing values as well as emotional support are now considered important roles for fathers, not just bringing in income. There are several factors that may have contributed to this dramatic increase. Out-of-wedlock births are now more common, single parenting is more acceptable, and courts over the years have been more likely to award custody to a father, all of these factors may  have impacted the rise.

Do you think this study reflects a change in how fatherhood is viewed? How has the role of fatherhood changed? Do you think there is a stigma with being a single mom that single dads don’t face? Are you a single dad? What problems do you face that couples raising kids don’t? What joys do single dads experience that couple raising kids don’t? Were you raised by a single dad? What things did he struggle with? Where did he excel?

Christopher Brown, Executive Vice President,

Gretchen Livingston, Senior Researcher, Pew Research  Center

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