Shocking development: There are way more single father households than there were in 1960. This, according to a report released today by the Pew Research Center, which analyzed data collected by the Decennial Census and American Community Survey.
But while the fact that the number of households headed by a single father has increased dramatically over the last 50 years - from just over 1% in 1960 to a record 8% today - may not come as much of a surprise considering the increase in divorce rates, some of the other characteristics of single fathers broken down by Pew are noteworthy - especially in comparison to single mothers.
For instance, according to Pew: “Single fathers are more likely than single mothers to be living with a cohabiting partner (41% versus 16%). Single fathers, on average, have higher incomes than single mothers and are far less likely to be living at or below the poverty line—24% versus 43%. Single fathers are also somewhat less educated than single mothers, older and more likely to be white.”
Also of interest, and touched on in the Pew report, is the role of fathers today as perceived by society. As the report notes, “... the role of fathers has evolved, and the public now acknowledges their importance not only as breadwinners, but also as caregivers. Analysis of long-term time use data shows that fathers are narrowing the still sizable gap with mothers in the amount of time they spend with their children. And Pew Research surveys find that the public believes that a father’s greatest role is to provide values to his children, followed by emotional support, discipline and income support. Public opinion ascribes roughly the same hierarchy of roles to mothers.”