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A Subtle Economic Asset: Daddy

A study from the National Fatherhood Initiative estimated the direct cost of fatherhood absence in American homes to be 100 billion dollars per year, all coming from tax-payer’s pockets.  “The One Hundred Billion Dollar Man” took into account 13 different benefit programs for child support enforcement for single moms: funds going directly to single parent homes.  Some major factors that are too hard to measure, such as long-term tax income lost due to poor child outcomes, were not included in this study making it a conservative estimate.  Fatherhood is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when one thinks of how to improve the economy.  However, the lost income, and other benefits that otherwise come from well-adjusted individuals entering society, is a factor that should be at the forefront of policy thinking, because home is where the economy starts.

The purpose of this blog is not to discriminate against those whose father was not involved in their upbringing.  Rather, it is to encourage contemplation on the importance of fatherhood both socially and economically.  While children can grow into healthy, well-adjusted adults in a variety of settings, social science research has firmly established that children who are raised by both biological parents that have at least a low conflict marriage have the best chance of doing well in life.  In other words, the traditional family is still the golden standard of the best environment to raise the next generation.  Simply put, children need their fathers.

Data has clearly demonstrated that children who are raised without their biological fathers are at higher risk for several negative behaviors.   Compared to children from two-parent homes, they are twice as likely to drop out of school, have higher rates of obesity, and are more likely to experience teen pregnancy.  Even more worrisome is that infant mortality rates among children born to unmarried mothers are 1.8 times higher than those born to married mothers.  These are hardly the outcomes that lead to a healthy economy.

In order to have a successful economy , people are needed, ideally hard-working, educated, healthy people.  And those positive attributes are more likely to be developed in children when their fathers are present in the home.  If more fathers were present and helping raise well adjusted children, much, if not all, of the 100 billion dollars per year could be allocated to other things, and other significant consequential costs of poor child outcomes would almost vanish.  The result: a better, happier America with a secure future.  Do not underestimate the power of daddy.

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