Fatherlessness, The Cancer Epidemic of Our Culture

I realize that “Epidemic” and the “C word” are strong, but they are not strong enough to depict what is going on in our nation and people are not speaking of it. It is politically incorrect to speak of the fatherless epidemic because it infers that a two-parent family is superior to a single parent family. However difficult it is to speak of, it must be addressed because every social problem in our culture from poverty to crime to school shootings have fatherlessness as a major contributing factor. Consider these statistics:

Children from fatherless homes are:

  • 4.6 times more likely to commit suicide,
  • 6.6 times to become teenaged mothers (if they are girls, of course),
  • 24.3 times more likely to run away,
  • 15.3 times more likely to have behavioral disorders,
  • 6.3 times more likely to be in a state-operated institutions,
  • 10.8 times more likely to commit rape,
  • 6.6 times more likely to drop out of school,
  • 15.3 times more likely to end up in prison while a teenager. [Source: Current Populations Reports, US Bureau of the Census, Series P-20, No. 458, 1991]
  • The relationship between family structure and crime is so strong that controlling for family configuration erases the relationship between race and crime and between low income and crime. This conclusion shows up time and again in the literature. [Source: E. Kamarck, William Galston, Putting Children First, Progressive Policy Inst. 1990]

1930, Fatherless First Seen as Connected to Crime

We have known the link between fatherlessness and crime for 80 years. If we do not face the problem head on we cannot begin to solve it.

The following quote is from an article that was written in 1930 when less than 3% of children lived in a fatherless home.

‘With the establishment of juvenile courts in the United States around 1900 and the compilation of social statistics on youth who were brought before these courts, it struck observers that 40% to 50% of all delinquent children came from broken homes. Since it was far beyond normal expectancy that such a proportion of all youth was similarly disadvantaged, early writers saw broken homes to be an important, if not the greatest single proximate (causal) factor in understanding juvenile delinquency.’ G. B. Mangold, Problems of Child Welfare (New York: Macmillan Co., 1930), p. 406; Mabel Rhoades

Since this was written, the problem has grown dramatically.

YearFatherless Birth Rate
1956 I was born3%
1981 My daughter was born28%
2010 My grandson was born42%

Why do I call this a cancer of culture? Fatherlessness is growing out of control and it is destroying the nurturing building block of our society; the family. The results are increased crime, poverty and very unhappy floundering children.