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The Incredible Impact Fathers Make

This article is very personal for me.

Even as I just think about writing it, my emotions range from deep sadness to extreme anger, which propel me to action.

The negative impact of fatherlessness is staggering.

Many of America’s ills can be traced back to fatherlessness. Sadly, 40% of American children don’t have Dad at home. I was one of those children.

When Dad and Mom are married and emotionally healthy, their children are very likely to reproduce the example set before them. But what happens when Dad isn’t present in the home?

I’m indebted to Wayne Parker, who wrote the online article, “Statistics on Fatherless Children in America.” 

Incarceration Rates

Young men who grow up without Dad at home are more likely to end up in jail than a young man who comes from a traditional two-parent home. (Cynthia Harper of the University of Pennsylvania and Sara S. McLanahan of Princeton University, cited in “Father Absence and Youth Incarceration.” Journal of Research on Adolescence 14 (September 2004): 369-397.) 


63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Bureau of the Census). 

Behavioral Disorders

85% of all children who exhibit behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes (United States Center for Disease Control). 

High School Dropouts

71% of all high school dropouts come from fatherless homes (National Principals’ Association Report on the State of High Schools). 

Education Attainment

Children living in a fatherless home report lower educational expectations on the part of their parents, less parental monitoring of school work, and less overall social supervision than children from intact families (N.M. Astore and S. McLanahan, American Sociological Review, No. 56, 1991). 

Juvenile Detention Rate

70% of juveniles in state-operated institutions come from fatherless homes (U.S. Dept. of Justice, Special Report, Sept 1988). 

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Derwin L. Gray is the founding and Lead Pastor of Transformation Church (www.tc521.org), a multi-ethnic, multi-generational, mission-shaped community in Indian Land, South Carolina, just south of Charlotte, North Carolina. Transformation Church was recognized as one of the 15 fastest growing churches in America for 2010 by Outreach Magazine. Gray is the author of "Limitless Life: You Are More Than Your Past When God Holds Your Future" and is a highly sought-after communicator. Connect with Derwin on twitter @Derwinlgray.