The Facts About Single Fathers Essay

3332 words - 13 pages

The Facts About Single Fathers Families are chancing each and every day. There has been much discussion in past years concerning the growth of single-mother households. However, the growing number of single-father households has not gained much attention. In fact, very little research has been conducted in this area. So what do we know about single-father families? History and Demographics Single-father families began to increase in the 1970's. According to the U.S. Census Reports, there were fewer than 350,000 single-fathers who had children living with them in 1960. By 1989 that number had increased to 1.4 million single-father families. In 1993 it was estimated that 15.5% of single-parent families were headed by a male (Gregg, 1994, p.1).According to Eggebeen and Snyder (1996), research on single-father families had only been conducted using small non-random samples. The primary reasons for these studies was to explore the reasons for father custody and identify the nature of their parenting styles (p.2).Two studies conducted by Hernandez (1993) and Zill (1998) described the changing family structure (Eggebeen and Snyder, 1996, p.3). Hernandez focused on the growth of single father families while Zill compared the children's well being to that of children in other family types. In order to bring these finings up-to-date and focus on other areas not yet explored Eggebeen and Snyder (1996) conducted a more recent study (p.3). They based this study on the information contained in the 1960, 1970, and 1980 1/1000 Public Use Microdata Sample (PUMS), along with the 5% 1990 PUMS. They note that because the 1990 PUMS is based on 5% of the total U.S. population the sample size is larger than that in previous year's (p.4). From this data they used the following sample sizes of children living in single-father families: 1960, 703 children; 1970, 1,250 children; 1970, 1,291 children; 1990, 115,972 children (p.4). With this data they found the information that follows.In 1960 a little over 1% of children lived in single-father families. By 1990 the number increased to almost 4%. Between 1980 and 1990 the increase went up by 81% (Eggebeen and Snyder, 1994, p.6). This is demonstrated in figure 1. This type of family has grown by 256% among non-white children, 230% among white children and 133% among black children (p.6). This is shown in figure 2. Furthermore, from 1960 to 1990 single-mother families increased in total by 160% while single-father families increased by a much faster rate of 245%, as seen in figure 3 (p.6).Over the period studied, the number of single father who had never been married doubled every ten years while the number of single fathers who were widowed decreased illustrated by figure 4 (Eggebeen and Snyder, 1994, p.6). The average age of single fathers also decreased during this time as shown in figure 5 (p.6).Eggebeen and Snyder (1996) found that smaller income levels are apparent for single-fathers who were never married compared to...

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