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A Generation At Risk  (adapted from Rainbows: program for children who suffer a loss through a life altering crisis including death of a parent, divorce or other separation issue: www.rainbows.org) 

1 in 2 will live in a single parent family at some point in childhood
1 in 3 is born to unmarried parents
1 in 4 lives with only one parent
1 in 8 is born to a teenage mother
1 in 25 lives with neither parent
(The State of America's Children, 1998 Yearbook, Children's Defense Fund)
Current Family Statistics - 2003
68.7% of American Youth are living in non-traditional families
7 out of 10
  • 23.3% living with biological mother (Step-family Association
  • 4.4% living with biological father (Step-family Association)
  • 1% Foster Families (U.S. Census Bureau)
  • 3.7% living with non-relatives (U.S. Census Bureau)
  • 6.3% living with grandparents (AARP - U.S. Census Bureau)
  • 30% living in Step-families ** (Step-family Association)
(Note: This does not include youth impacted by the death of a loved person such as a sibling or grandparent.)

** Per the Step-family Association, there are no current Census stats available for Step-family statistics. However, a survey conducted in 1995 estimated that 30% of all children are living in either a step-family or a cohabiting couple.
Children of divorced parents are seven times more likely to suffer from depression in adult life than people of similar age and background whose parents have not divorced. This Israeli study, indicated that the loss of a parent through divorce is more likely to cause depression than loss through death. "The earlier the separation occurred, the more likely it was to have had an influence," researcher Bernard Lerer said. (Study by Bernard Lerer and Ofer Agid of the Biological Psychiatric Unit at Hadassah Hospital, Jerusalem, as reported in Molecular Psychiatry, 1999)
Fathers without visitation or joint custody pay only 44.5% of child support owed, but fathers with visitation pay 79.1% of child support owed.
Fathers with joint custody pay 90.2% of child support owed.
The number of single-parent homes has skyrocketed, displacing many children in this country. Approximately 30% of U.S. families are now being headed by a single parent, and in 80% of those families, the mother is the sole parent. The United States is the world's leader in fatherless families.
Father absence contributes to crime and delinquency. Violent criminals are overwhelmingly males who grew up without fathers.
(U.S. Census Bureau report, "Child Support and Alimony: 1989, released Oct. 11, 1991)
  • More than a quarter of today's children will live in a step-family situation.(Nicholas Zill, Child Trends, Washington, D.C.)
  • 16% of all families with children at home live in step-families. (U.S. Census Bureau)
  • High divorce and remarriage rates have resulted in about 20% of the children in two-parent households living with one natural parent and one step parent. (U.S. Census Bureau)
  • Slightly more than 40% of all current marriages are second or third marriages. (U.S. Census Bureau, 1992)

75% of children/adolescents in chemical dependency hospitals are from single-parent families. (Center for Disease Control, Atlanta, GA)
1 out of 5 children have a learning, emotional, or behavioral problem due to the family system changing. (National Center for Health Statistics)
More than one half of all youths incarcerated for criminal acts lived in one-parent families when they were children. (Children's Defense Fund)
Nine million American children face risk factors that may hinder their ability to become healthy and productive adults. One in seven children deal with at least four of the risk factors, which include growing up in a single-parent household...The survey also indicated that children confronting several risk factors are more likely to experience problems with concentration, communication, and health. (1999 Kids Count Survey - Annie E. Casey Foundation)
Every 78 seconds a teen attempts suicide - every 90 seconds they succeed. (National Center for Health Statistics)
63% of suicides are individuals from single parent families (FBI Law Enforcement Bulletin - Investigative Aid)
"Separation, divorce and unmarried parenthood seemed to be a high risk for children/adolescents in these families for the development of suicidal behavior". (Atilla Turgay, M.D.American Psychiatric Association's Scientific Meeting, May 1994)
75% of teenage pregnancies are adolescents from single parent homes (Children in need: Investment Strategies...Committee for Economic Development)
Approximately 13% of all babies born in the U.S. are born to adolescent mothers, with one million teens becoming pregnant each year. Explanations for teen pregnancy include the break-up of the American home and parental loss. (University of Kentucky, Departments of Psychiatry, Ob/Gyn and Psychology)
Single Parent Due To Divorce, Death, Abandonment Or
Mother Never Married
Step Family
Blended Family
Foster Family
In the U.S., 8 million people suffered through the death of someone in their immediate family last year; 800,000 new widows and widowers; 400,000 people under 25 suffered from the death of a loved one (National Mental Health Association)
1.2 million children will lose a parent to death before age 15 (Dr. Elizabeth Weller, Dir. Ohio State University Hospitals, 1991)
In 1980, about 23 babies were born to every 1,000 women age 35 to 44, according to federal statistics; in 1996, the rate had risen to 42 per 1,000. Similarly, about 60 babies were born to every 1,000 men that age in 1980; by 1996, that number increased more than 20%. Mortality rates for adults in their 40s and 50s in the past two decades have risen dramatically making it more likely that younger children will experience the death of a parent, or a classmate's parent. "Kids are encountering death more often and at a younger age - it's just inevitable" says Gerald Koocher, chief of psychology at Boston's Children's Hospital. (Wall Street Journal, Early Grief Article, February 18, 1999)
Currently, 1.9 million youngsters under age 18 (or more than 2 percent of American children) have lost one or both parents. (U. S. Social Security Administration, as reported in the Chicago Tribune Magazine, 7-18-99)
A parent's death usually makes a severe impact on a child, research shows. After losing a parent, 85% of children exhibit such symptoms as difficulty sleeping, angry outbursts, worry, depression, bed-wetting, and thumb-sucking. After a year, more regressive behaviors may fade, but other problems, such as lack of confidence and preoccupation with illness, are likely to continue.

"Gang recruitment is a powerful lure for the products of broken homes and single-parent households" as gang members are likely to "receive little guidance or attention from family members at home." (Chicago Crime Commission Report,1995)

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