Are Daddies an Endangered Species in Our Culture?

new-dad2.s600x600A story about the number of fathers nationwide caught my eye this week, one that has ramifications far beyond the standard news flash.

Let’s cut right to the troubling statistics:

In every state, the portion of families where children have two parents, rather than one, has dropped significantly over the past decade. Even as the country added 160,000 families with children, the number of two-parent households decreased by 1.2 million. Fifteen million U.S. children, or 1 in 3, live without a father, and nearly 5 million live without a mother. In 1960, just 11 percent of American children lived in homes without fathers.


The subject of single parents is an explosive one, generating heated emotions that make assessing the big picture a challenge. I marvel at how much work single moms take on. They balance careers with parental duties without a steady partner to give them a hand or, at the very least, an occasional break from the 24/7 nature of parenting.

Single parents often react emotionally to statistics like the ones listed above. Read between the lines, and the message behind the numbers is clear – they can’t measure up to a two-parent household. Yet those numbers don’t tell the whole story. What about single parents who opt to keep a child rather than abort it? Some single parents got married in order to build a strong nuclear family and discovered their spouses weren’t as faithful, or kind, as they hoped. Others do a remarkable job raising a family, period. And some two-parent families are chock full of dysfunction and abuse.

The cold statistics still reveal something fragile about our social fabric. Our culture values two-parent households less than ever before, and it’s often fathers who are disconnected from the parental unit. It’s hard to believe society is the better because of it.


  1. says

    Agree completely. What I worry about is that this seems inevitably to be an increasing problem: All of these millions of children who are growing up learning that dads aren’t critical and/or that a single person can raise a child or children. As a single dad, I’ll say that not a day goes by that I don’t wish I was part of a team raising my children…

  2. says

    How sad for society. Fathers are utmost important for role models. How sons grow up and how daughters interact with males. Thank goodness some grandfathers step up for the children.

  3. Ronco says

    Can’t help but think that this is the result of the long term – ongoing? – confusion regarding the roles of men and women in modern societies. As hip and apologetic as many would like to appear on the destruction of these role, the destruction comes with a price that doesn’t seem obvious to the cognitively disabled, and the U.S has enough of them. Stats illustrate the beneficial restraining/channeling effect on boys which an on-site father provides. The decisive poverty which single-parent status places a family into is ignored now, but it may well be the first thing to trigger a reversal of fatherhood’s ‘extinction’. As with Christianity’s waning fortunes, really tough and violent times may convince many of Secularism’s Faithful to find a better and older (Ancient? Biblical?! Yikes!) model. Stay optimistic. BTW – When a renaissance comes, some out there may have to give up on the now-hot shibboleth of same-sex marriage. Marriage and fatherood’s many failures or quirks won’t be any more comfortable when duplicated in Heather’s Duo-Mommy world!

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