Statistics of Fatherhood Involvement

In America, 24.7 million children (33 percent) lived in biological father-absent homes in 2010.  20.3 million children lived with no father (biological, adoptive, or step) in the home.

Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, “Living Arrangements of Children Under 18 Years/1 and Marital Status of Parents, by Age, Sex, Race, and Hispanic Origin/2 and Selected Characteristics of the Child for All Children: 2010”. Table C3. Internet Release Date

November, 2010.


One-third of children in the United States are expected to live with a non-biological parental figure at some point in their lives. This is in part related to the fact that out-of-wedlock births, divorce, and repartnering have become more common, contributing to greater complexity in family structures.

Source: “CPS Involvement in families with social fathers.” Fragile Families Research Brief No.46. Princeton, NJ and New York, NY: Bendheim-Thomas Center for Research on Child Wellbeing and Social Indicators Survey Center, 2010.


A non-resident father sees his child an average of 12 days per month.

Source: McLanahan, S. (2009). Fragile families and the reproduction of poverty. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science, 621, 111-131.


In a study of 3.7 million unwed mothers, it was reported that roughly 40% of fathers had no contact with their children during the previous year.

Source: Lerman, R. I. (2010). Capabilities and contributions of unwed fathers. The Future of Children, 20, 63-85.


By age five, nearly two-fifths of children with nonresident parents had no regular contact with their fathers for the past two years.

Source: Waldfogel, J., Craigie, T. & Brooks-Gunn, J. (2010). Fragile families and child wellbeing. The Future of Children, 20, 87-112.