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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

12/27/2012 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Majority of today's social ills can be traced to uninvolved dads, experts say

While many people in the United States say they espouse traditional family values, very few appear to put the principles in practice. It's estimated that one in three of children within the U.S. live without their father. These figures are especially high in the Southern states, which ordinarily take pride in being the bastion of bedrock American values.  

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By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

12/27/2012 (2 years ago)

Published in Marriage & Family

Keywords: Marriage, single-parent families, African American, social ills


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - It's a problem that cuts through every state. The number of children with both parents has dropped significantly over the past decade. While the U.S. added 160,000 families with children, the number of two-parent households decreased by 1.2 million. That's a very long way from 50 years ago, when in 1960 only 11 percent of American children lived in homes without fathers.

Vice President of the National Fatherhood Initiative Vincent DiCaro says that the nation's social ills, such as crime, poverty and substance abuse are the direct result of this trend. Deal with absent fathers, he says, and the rest follows.

People "look at a child in need, in poverty or failing in school, and ask, 'What can we do to help?' But what we do is ask, 'Why does that child need help in the first place?' And the answer is often it's because [the child lacks] a responsible and involved father," he said.

As evidence, a startling statistic is offered. Married couples with children have an average income of $80,000, compared with $24,000 for single mothers.

"We have one class that thinks marriage and fatherhood is important, and another which doesn't, and it's causing that gap, income inequality, to get wider," DiCaro said.

Men who abandon their families are usually concentrated in inner cities. In Baltimore, 38 percent of families have two parents, and in St. Louis the portion is 40 percent.

The lack of live-in fathers also is overwhelmingly an African-American problem, regardless of poverty status, census data show. Among blacks, nearly five million children or 54 percent, live with only their mother. Twelve percent of black families below the poverty line have two parents present, compared with 41 percent of impoverished Hispanic families and 32 percent of poor white families.

Most painfully, in all but 11 U.S. states, most black children do not live with both parents. In every state, 7 in 10 white children do. In all states but Rhode Island and Massachusetts, most Hispanic children do. In Wisconsin, 77 percent of white children and 61 percent of Hispanics live with both parents, compared with more than 25 percent of black children.

"Something has to be done about it, and it starts with the culture and reversing the attitude that marriage is not important. The president has a role to play in that. He's a married African-American father who can probably make a huge difference with words alone," DiCaro says.

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