1. Poverty

- Children in father-absent homes are five times more likely to be poor. In
2002, 7.8% of children in married-couple families were living in poverty,
compared to 38.4% of children in female-householder families.

- In 1996, young children living with unmarried mothers were five times
as likely to be poor and ten times as likely to be extremely poor.

- Almost 75% of American children living in single-parent families will
experience poverty before they turn 11 years old. Only 20 percent of
children in two-parent families will do the same.

2. Drug and Alcohol Abuse

"Fatherless children are at a dramatically greater risk of drug and alcohol abuse."

- Children growing up in single-parent households are at a significantly increased risk for drug abuse as teenagers.

- Children who live apart from their fathers are 4.3 times more likely to smoke cigarettes as teenagers than children growing up with their fathers in the home.

3. Physical and Emotional Health

- Unmarried mothers are less likely to obtain prenatal care and more likely to have a low birthweight baby. Researchers find that these negative effects persist even when they take into account factors, such as parental education, that often distinguish single-parent from two-parent families.

- A study on nearly 6,000 children found that children from single parent homes had more physical and mental health problems than children who lived with two married parents. Additionally, boys in single parent homes were found to have more illnesses than girls in single parent homes.

- Children in single-parent families are two to three times as likely as children in two-parent families to have emotional and behavioral problems.

- Three out of four teenage suicides occur in households where a parent has been absent.

4. Educational Achievement

- In studies involving over 25,000 children using nationally representative data sets, children who lived with only one parent had lower grade point averages, lower college aspirations, poor attendance records, and higher drop out rates than students who lived with both parents.

- Fatherless children are twice as likely to drop out of school.

- After taking into account race, socioeconomic status, sex, age, and ability, high school students from single-parent households were 1.7 times more likely to drop out than were their corresponding counterparts living with both biological parents.

- School children from divorced families are absent more, and more anxious, hostile, and withdrawn, and are less popular with their peers than those from intact families.

5. Crime

- Children in single parent families are more likely to be in trouble with the law than their peers who grow up with two parents.

- In a study using a national probability sample of 1,636 young men and women, it was found that older boys and girls from female headed households are more likely to commit criminal acts than their peers who lived with two parents.

- A study in the state of Washington using statewide data found an increased likelihood that children born out-of-wedlock would become a juvenile offender. Compared to their peers born to married parents, children born out-of-wedlock were:

6. Sexual Activity and Teen Pregnancy

- Adolescent females between the ages of 15 and 19 years reared in homes without fathers are significantly more likely to engage in premarital sex than adolescent females reared in homes with both a mother and a father.

- A survey of 720 teenage girls found:

- Children in single parent families are more likely to get pregnant as teenagers than their peers who grow up with two parents.

- A white teenage girl from an advantaged background is five times more likely to become a teen mother if she grows up in a single-mother household than if she grows up in a household with both biological parents.