All boys need and benefit from having a variety of good men in their lives. Of course, the best possible scenario for a boy is to have an engaged and caring father. Sadly, too many of our boys have not had that experience. The number of boys growing up without fathers in their lives has reached epidemic proportions. High rates of divorce, poverty, addiction, and out-of-wedlock births have created a generation of fatherless boys.
The Epidemic of Fatherless Boys
- One in three children are born to unmarried parents.
- An estimated 24.7 million children do not live with their biological father.
- 43% of urban teens live away from their father.
- 42% of fathers fail to see their children at all after divorce.
- Since 1960 the rate of U.S. boys without fathers has quadrupled.
- 1 in 6 black men had been incarcerated as of 2001. If current trends continue, 1 in 3 black males born today will spend time in prison in his lifetime.
“Boys to Men Mentoring has a righteous purpose, one that I am a direct beneficiary of, as I grew up fatherless. I remember when I was in Junior High it was considered a sign of weakness by my peers to complain about my dad not being around — the main reason was that none of my peers had their fathers either!”
– Former Middle School BTMT Program Participant
One reliable predictor of whether a boy will succeed or fail in high school rests on a single question: does he have a man in his life to look up to? Too often, the answer is no. The consequences can be devastating for all of us:
- 85% of youths in prisons grew up in a fatherless home.
- 71% of high school dropouts come from fatherless homes.
- 80% of rapists with displaced anger come from fatherless homes.
- 63% of youth suicides are from fatherless homes.
- Gang membership increased from 50,000 in 1975 to 1,150,000 in 2008.
- 90% of homeless children are from fatherless homes.
- 85% of children with behavioral disorders come from fatherless homes.
- 90% of adolescent repeat arsonists live with only their mother.
- Fatherless boys are 4 times more likely to need help for emotional or behavioral problems.
The Financial Cost
- 5% of the adult male population is or has been in prison, costing taxpayers $75 billion a year.
- The prison incarceration rate more than quadrupled since 1975.
- A boy leaving high school to enter into a life of crime or drug abuse can cost his community $1.7–$2.3 million in his lifetime.
“They saved my son from heaven knows what could have happened to him – gangs, drugs, jail or worse.”
– Mother of a Middle School BTMT Program Participant
Here is what Boys to Men Tucson is doing about this problem!