How Absent Fathers Affect Children

Absent Fathers

Growing up without a father present isn’t easy. I’ve written extensively about my life without my dad. Although I turned out okay, I think my life would have been much different if I had a loving, involved father in my life.

Sadly, millions of kids are growing up with a father. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, 1 out of every 3 children in America live apart from their biological fathers. Sixty four percent of African American children live in father-absent homes. Thirty four percent of Hispanic children, and 25% white children live in father-absent homes. Fifty years ago, only 11% of children lived in father-absent homes.

These statistics are frightening. What’s more frightening is that I’m seeing this cycle of absent fathers continue within my own family. My niece, nephew, and cousins are living apart from their biological fathers. Some of the kids get to see their fathers periodically, while others haven’t seen their dads in years.

This cycle must stop because the consequences are dire. Children who live absent their biological fathers are, on average, at least two to three times more likely to be poor, to use drugs, to experience educational, health, emotional and behavioral problems, to be victims of child abuse, and to engage in criminal behavior than their peers who live with their married, biological (or adoptive) parents.

This infographic from National Fatherhood Initiative shows more ways that kids are affected by their father’s absence:

father abscence

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Join the Conversation: Did you grow up with your father? If so, how did it affect your life?

About author

Frederick J. Goodall

Frederick J. Goodall is the founder of Mocha Dad - a parenting website focused on fatherhood. He is passionate about parenting and helping men to be great dads, husbands, and role models. You can contact him at or on Twitter at

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