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Parents living apart from children double: Survey

The number of parents living apart from children in the US have doubled over the past half century, according to a survey released on Thursday.

In 1960, only 11 per cent of children in the US lived apart from their fathers. By 2010, that share had risen to 27 per cent.

The share of minor children living apart from their mothers increased from four per cent in 1960 to eight per cent in 2010.

According to a new Pew Research Center analysis of the National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), more than one-in-four fathers with children ages 18 or younger now live apart from their children with 11 per cent living apart from some of their children and 16 per cent living apart from all of their children.

Fathers' living arrangements are strongly correlated with race, ethnicity and socioeconomic status as measured by educational attainment.

Black fathers are more than twice as likely as white fathers to live apart from their children (44% vs. 21%), while Hispanic fathers fall in the middle (35%).

Among fathers who never completed high school, 40% live apart from their children.

This compares with only 7% of fathers who graduated from college.

Almost all fathers who live with their children take an active role in their day-to-day lives through activities such as sharing meals, helping with homework and playing.

Fathers who live apart from their children are much less likely to be involved in these types of activities.

Many compensate by communicating with their children through email or by phone: four-in-ten nonresident dads say they are in touch with their children several times a week.

At the same time, however, nearly one-third of fathers who do not live with their children say they talk or exchange email with them less than once a month.

Similarly, one-in-five absent fathers say they visit their children more than once a week, but an even greater share (27%) say they have not seen their children at all in the past year.

The Pew Research Center survey also finds that most fathers (63%) say being a dad is harder today than it was a generation ago.

 

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