According to recently released data from the United States Census Bureau, an increasing number of children in the Atlanta metro area are being raised by single fathers. For the first time in over 40 years, there was a greater increase in single father-led families than single mother-led families over the last decade, marking a significant shift in gender roles and family dynamics.
The Georgia statistics reflected national numbers, where the number of single fathers has jumped from 1990’s 1.5 million to the approximately 2.8 million single dads that have primary child custody today. Single father households are on the rise throughout Georgia, with the number of households that include a father and children but no wife rose 45 percent in the last decade. In comparison, the number of households with a mother and children but no husband increased by about 35 percent.
Sociologists are not exactly sure of the reason for the increase, but they have several theories. There has been an ongoing shift in attitudes among both court personnel and society in general, which may have led to more court awards of primary custody to fathers instead of mothers, as was previously the norm. To generalize further, fathers are now increasingly willing to be their children’s primary caregiver, while more mothers are recognizing that they do not want to or cannot be mothers, and voluntarily giving up custody rights of their children.
In addition, there has been a significant increase in the number of gay men raising children either together or alone. Because the census cannot detect whether this is the case, it is impossible to know just how many of the increasing number of single fathers are same-sex parents who are actually raising their children together.
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “More single dads in charge,” Gracie Bonds Staples, 18 June 2011