A recent analysis found the number of single fathers in the U.S. has greatly increased over the past 50 years. This is due to a number of changes, including an increase in couples having children out of wedlock and the courts being more mindful of a father’s rights.
According to the Pew Research Center, in 1960 there were only 300,000 households led by a single father. By 2011 this number increased to 2.6 million households.
In looking at why more single dads are heading up the household, the center points to the fact that more parents are choosing children without marriage. In fact, according to the Pew Research Center, in 2008 four out of 10 births were to unwed mothers.
Additionally, the divorce rate in the U.S. is higher now than in the 1960s and 1970s. Combine this with the fact that the courts are starting to award sole custody to more dads and it becomes quite clear why more single fathers are leading households.
However, just like single mothers, these single fathers tend to financially struggle, with it being reported that the average income for a household of three led by a single father being $40,000 a year. For a household headed by a married father, the average income is $70,000.
With this income discrepancy, single fathers should keep in mind that child support may be available from the mothers of their children. Just like how more fathers are starting to be awarded custody, more fathers are also being awarded child support and spousal support. An attorney in Missouri with experience handling fathers’ rights would be able to answer more questions related to family law from a single father’s standpoint.
Source: NBC News, “More single dads than ever head US households,” Megan Gannon, July 3, 2013