Children in single-father families in demographic perspective

David J. Eggebeen, Anastasia R. Snyder, Wendy D. Manning

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


The purpose of this article is to examine the other (much more neglected) single-parent family type: those single-parent families headed by fathers. We use specially constructed child files from the 1960-1990 Public Use Microdata Samples data from the Census of Population to address two general questions: (a) To what extent has both the likelihood and the demographic characteristics of these families changed over time? (b) What are the consequences for children of living in different kinds of father-only families? We find that single-father families are comparatively rare, but increasing rapidly, especially since 1980. Increasingly, these families are formed by fathers who are young, never married, with low incomes, and fewer children. Analysis of the 1990 data reveal wide diversity in living arrangements among children in single-father families. Furthermore, the social capital of children's fathers, the availability of adults, and children's economic well-being vary markedly across these types of families.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)441-465
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Family Issues
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 1996

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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