Fatherless families ‘face raft of problems’


1 in 5 children now live in a one-parent family

Children who grow up without a father are more likely to be unemployed, homeless, to contract illness or be imprisoned, a wide-ranging survey has suggested.

Independent think-tank Civitas has analysed 30 years of data on changing trends in family life.

It suggests the decline of the two-parent married couple family had resulted in increased incidence of poverty, ill health, educational failure and anti-social behaviour.

Lone mothers are poorer, more depressed and more unhealthy than mothers in two-parent families, according to the think-tank.

Fathers not living with their families have higher death rates, drink more heavily, have more unsafe sex and risk losing contact with their children.

Rebecca O’Neill, author of the survey, entitled Experiments in Living, said: “The weight of evidence indicates that the traditional family based upon a married father and mother is still the best environment for raising children and it forms the soundest basis for the wider society.”

Ms O’Neill pulled together the results of dozens of studies, carried out over three decades, to give an over-arching picture.

Most of the studies, she said, had been based on 1,000 families each.

One in five children now live in a one-parent family. One in 14 live with their mother and a man who has no birth or legal tie to the child.

Civitas is now calling on the UK Government to do more to encourage people to live in more traditional family units.

Civitas director David Green said: “We need to see a change in government policy which favours and encourages the most responsible behaviour amongst parents, rather than the opposite, as is currently the case.”

Article Posted Monday, 16 September, 2002
BBC.co.uk News 2002

Children of lone parents are more likely to:

  1. Suffer deprivation
  2. Suffer ill health
  3. Be unpopular and in trouble at school
  4. Be excluded from school or leave early
  5. Suffer physical and sexual abuse
  6. Run away from home
  7. Drink, smoke, take drugs
  8. Become young offenders
  9. Have unprotected sex
  10. Become teenage parents
  11. Source: Civitas
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