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In These Places, Most Kids Don’t Live With Their Dad

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With families preparing to mark Fathers Day, the majority of kids in large swaths of the country will have nothing to celebrate, a Daily Wire analysis of newly released Census data shows.

On the black map above, all of the blue areas are where most kids don’t live with two parents.

At the state level, the disaster zone for intact families was Puerto Rico, where only 38% of children live with two parents. That is followed by the District of Columbia at 48%, and Mississippi, Louisiana, and New Mexico, at between 55% and 57%, according to the Census data, which covers the years 2016-2020. All states’ two-parent percentages are visible on the map below.

Percent of kids living with two parents by state. Map by Luke Rosiak for The Daily Wire

The rate was even more jarring at the local level. Rochester, New York, had the worst rate of two-parent households in the nation, at just over 1 in 4 families. Not far behind were Flint, Michigan and Cleveland, Ohio.

In individual census tracts within many cities, it was much worse. Not only do most kids in those neighborhoods not have a dad – they may not even know anyone who does.  “Children are growing up not only not seeing their own fathers, but even other men fulfilling that role,” said the president of the National Fatherhood Initiative, Chris Brown, who was born in Rochester.

Cities with the fewest kids with two-parents homes
Rochester, NY 26%
Flint, MI 27%
Cleveland, OH 28%
Ponce, PR 28%
Detroit, MI 29%
Hartford, CT 31%
San Juan, PR 33%
Jackson, MS 33%
Springfield, MA 33%
Carolina, PR 34%

Such boys are statistically more likely to grow up and not take care of their own kids.

“There’s a phrase, ‘you can’t be what you don’t see,’” Brown said. “That has a huge bearing on what we see happening in communities across the country, which is the absence of men and fathers from communities in general.”

Single parenthood can spread like a contagion, he said.

“We see communities who are impoverished having very high rates of single parents. It builds upon itself, the more people you see making choices not to raise kids in married families, you get a network effect that grows,” he said. 

The normalization of single parenthood is not just a personal decision, because it affects the community at large. Studies indicate that children who grow up without a dad are more likely to grow up to commit crime, be unemployed, and require government assistance.

In 2011, the National Council of La Raza, a Hispanic advocacy group, sounded the alarm about the breakdown of the family in Puerto Rico. “Children living in single-parent families typically do not have the same economic or human resources available as those growing up in two-parent families. These children are more likely to live in poverty since single-parent families have only one potential wage earner,” it wrote.

But little changed, and the predictable result was continued poverty. In the years since, public agencies of the U.S. territory sought to declare bankruptcy — and sought a bailout from U.S. taxpayers.

The states with the highest rate of kids with two parents were predictable: Utah at 81%, Idaho at 76%, Wyoming at 74%, and North Dakota at 73%.

Counties with the most kids with two-parent homes
Utah County, UT 88%
Williamson County, TN 87%
Forsyth County, GA 87%
Hunterdon County, NJ 86%
Loudoun County, VA 86%
Geauga County, OH 85%
Douglas County, CO 85%
Dallas County, IA 85%
Delaware County, OH 85%
Rockland County, NY 85%

Brown said without a renewed cultural emphasis on the importance of intact families, the problem is unlikely to be solved. “There won’t be anything structurally in place to bring it back up if there is not the political will to promote two parent households,” he said.

The political Left increasingly seems to have abandoned that will. Black Lives Matter notoriously promoted “disrupt[ing] the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure.”

After Virginia elected a Republican attorney general, Jason Miyares, last year, he found that his left-wing predecessor had gone so easy on scofflaw dads that the Division of Child Support Enforcement was seeking to dismiss cases against absent fathers who were refusing to pay child support in “egregious” ways.

“Children should never have to go without because the government is giving their parent a pass from responsibility. Parents subject to court orders will not be permitted to hide from their financial obligations to Virginia’s families,” he said.

In a previous installment in this series, The Daily Wire reported that well-funded Leftist groups have largely abandoned efforts to push for intact families, despite it being a surefire path to racial equity. Records from seven major philanthropic foundations indicate that the last pro-marriage grant was in 1997. More recently, the Ford Foundation funded a report that complained that people were being “Pushed to the Altar” and questioned the benefits of intact families, and another that complained of how absent fathers were being burdened by a requirement to pay child support.

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