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The Economics of Marriage and Divorce

Address Poverty & Crime

With 24 million children in America living daily without their biological fathers—one in three children— there is a father factor in poverty and crime.


Sadly, sometimes moms think dad's just a child support payment...we created the Moms Involving Dads Bundle filled with tools to help mom, dad, & child.

For example:

  • Children from father-absent homes are four times more likely to be poor

  • A child with an incarcerated father is 7 times more likely to become incarcerated himself

Father absence and poverty are strongly related. Data shows that it’s more difficult to get fathers to provide financial support when they are not married to the mother and when they lack an emotional connection to their children.

Further, the “story behind the story” of a violent crime committed in America reveals a “crime of fatherlessness.” Good fathers serve as regulators of aggressive behavior, particularly for young boys. But it’s not just boys, the fastest growing prison population is young girls and women, many of whom have grown up in father-absent homes.

By engaging fathers in the lives of their children, we can work to reduce poverty and crime.

Related Resources

5 Graphs below from the award winning Director of WHAT BLACK MEN THINK, and MEN II BOYS, comes the next installment of the urgent and necessary dialogue to heal the hearts, minds and souls of a wounded nation...GUPI (Guility Until Proven Innocent)


Fatherhood in Crisis

Every child deserves an involved dad.

Many people are surprised at the research which shows a connection between father absence and an increase in social problems in America including: poverty, teen pregnancy, juvenile delinquency, physical abuse, suicide, substance and alcohol abuse and a host of other troubling social problems. The sad fact is that not only does father absence hurt children, fathers suffer as well.

Developing positive relationships with their children encourages and motivates fathers to lead more constructive lives, even in the most difficult of circumstances. For instance, the simple act of regularly writing to their children from prison improves outcomes for incarcerated fathers, including increasing their odds of training for, finding, and keeping a job once they reenter society. Evidence shows that fathers who write to their children once a week have a lower risk of violence in prison and recidivism when released. These positive outcomes are multiplied when we study the impact on the children of inmates, and how father contact can change the trend of their children’s lives - even while the father is still incarcerated.

In addition, research and experience tell us that there is a strong correlation between lack of father involvement and many larger social challenges. Sadly, trends are against us. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) notes, in a study that investigated these trends, 2006 – 2010, “fewer fathers now live with their children” over the period studied. Reasons for this depressing trend include incarceration, non-marital childbearing and other factors.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 24 million children in America, one out of three children in America, now live in biological father-absent homes. Furthermore, according to the national surveys conducted by NFI, 9 in 10 parents believe there is a father absence crisis in America.

This study, an excellent resource on the impact of father-child involvement, also describes how “increased involvement of fathers in their children’s lives has been associated with a range of positive outcomes for the children.”

Fatherhood is in crisis in America, and you can help. By using our evidence-based programs your department, agency, or not-for-profit group can increase father involvement, improve the lives of children everywhere, and reverse negative trends in a wide range of social issues. Or, by becoming an individual activist, you can bring fatherhood programming to your community and help to reduce a host of social ills in your neighborhood.

NFI is a nationally respected, oft-cited, non-profit organization committed to better outcomes for children and our society as a whole. Our research and programs make a positive difference in the relationships between fathers and children - even in cases where a father is not physically present in the home. You don’t have to be a bystander to the fatherhood crisis in America; you can help to turn the tide and help us create a world in which every child has a 24/7 Dad.

Thank you for your interest and support,

The National Fatherhood Initiative® Team

24 million children in America grow up without their father at home. Share this infographic and help connect father to child.











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