The number of American households headed by single fathers has ballooned over the last five decades, according to a new study by the Pew Research Center.This sounds like a lot, but half of these single dads are not really single:
Single-father-led households in the U.S. have risen about nine-fold from less than 300,000 in 1960 to over 2.6 million in 2011, Pew says. A record 8% of households with minor children in the U.S. are headed by a single father, up from just over 1% in 1960, according to Pew, which analyzed Census data. Single-mother households have increased four-fold in the same time period.
Gretchen Livingston, the study’s author and a senior researcher at Pew, defines “single fathers” as people 15 and older who head their household and report living with their own minor children, including step-children or adopted children. Out of those single fathers surveyed in 2011, 41% were living with a cohabiting partner; 52% were separated, divorced, widowed or never married; and 7% were married but didn’t reside with their spouse. Ms. Livingston was unable to determine whether in some instances the unmarried cohabiting partner was the biological mother of the children in the household.