The nature of families in the U.S. seems to be constantly changing. The stereotypical image of a family being composed of a father, mother and two children no longer accurately describes many people’s family situations — if it ever did. A noticeable trend in family life changes is the rise of single fathers. A new report from the Pew Research Center issued on July 2, 2013 showed that the number of single fathers with custody of their children in the U.S. has increased by nine times since the Census Bureau began tracking the information in 1960.
The report looked at Census Bureau data from 1960 through 2011 and found that the number of single fathers heading households in the country grew from under 300,000 to over 2.6 million. In comparison, the number of single mothers heading households increased by four times during the period under consideration, growing from 1.9 million to 8.6 million.
For the purposes of the report, “single father” did not necessarily mean that the father was the only caregiver in the home. According to the report, single fathers were more likely than single mothers to be living with a significant other.
Researchers attribute the growth in single fathers as heads of households to a number of factors. Both divorce rates and non-marital births have increased since 1960, which means that there are more single parents. Also, courts have recognized the important role that fathers play in their children’s lives and have become more willing to grant fathers custody of children.
Florida courts encourage parents to set up parenting plans that allow both parents to maintain their relationships with their children. Fathers are more frequently seeking significant amounts of time with their children so that they can be a major part of their children’s lives. It is important for fathers with questions about child custody to speak with an experienced child custody attorney to clarify their options for maximizing their role in their children’s lives.
Source: Huffington Post Parents, “Single Fathers: Pew Research Reports Number of Single Dads Has Jumped in U.S.,” Lisa Belkin, July 2, 2013