The Rise of The Single Father

The Rise of The Single Father

Do fathers ever get custody of the kids? One study finds that a dad’s chances are better than ever.

A study released by the Pew Foundation indicates that nearly one-quarter of all single parents in the U.S. are now men — a sign of how fathers are taking a more active role in their children’s lives. From 1960 to 2013 the number of single dads raising their kids rose an astonishing nine-fold (from 297,000 to 2.6 million today).

What has contributed to this rise?

Aside from an increase in births outside of wedlock, experts suggest that the increase is the result of changes in the legal system that has placed fathers on equal footing to gain custody.

Another factor the study finds is a change in public perception of the role of fathers. In the past, a man’s importance in the family centered on his ability to bring home the bacon, but now it seems there is more recognition of his role in care-giving. This changing view comes as dads are narrowing the gap with moms in the amount of time they spend with their children. In fact, more men than ever are swapping long-held roles with their wives — and remaining home with their children as stay-at-home dads.

In addition, father’s and mother’s family roles are converging. As part of its study on single dads, The Pew Foundation conducted a survey to understand the role of each parent in the family unit. The findings: mothers and fathers have similar roles. A father’s greatest responsibility was reported as providing values to his children, followed by emotional support, discipline, and financial support (in this order). Roughly the same responsibilities were stated about mothers, also in about the same order. 

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