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U.S. children, Christian children more likely to be raised in single-parent homes: Pew

Photo: Unsplash/John-Mark Smith

The United States has a higher rate of children living in single-parent homes than many other parts of the world, and Christian children around the world are about twice as likely to live in a single-parent home, according to a recent report by the Pew Research Center.

In a report released last week by Pew’s Religion & Public Life, the research organization found that 23 percent of children under 18 in the U.S. lived in a single-parent home.

This was a higher percentage than other countries, including Brazil (10 percent), Germany (12 percent), India (5 percent), Japan (7 percent), Mali (1 percent), Nigeria (4 percent), Russia (18 percent), Turkey (2 percent), and Vietnam (4 percent).

Of the nations listed in the report, the United Kingdom came the closest to the U.S., with the British nation having 21 percent of children under 18 living in single-parent homes.

“Single-parent homes are not common in general, with fewer than one-in-ten children around the world living with one parent and no other adults,” noted Pew.

“But children from Christian families are about twice as likely as non-Christian children to reside in single-parent households. And the U.S. has the highest rates of children living in single-parent households, with almost a quarter of Christian (as well as unaffiliated) children living this way.”

Pew also found that, among all countries surveyed, 52 percent of children raised Christian live in two-parent homes, while 32 percent live in extended-family homes. Eleven percent were raised in single-parent homes.

A similar pattern was found for children raised Muslim, with 53 percent living in two-parent homes and 33 percent in extended-family homes. Five percent were raised in single-parent homes.

For its data, Pew drew from multiple censuses and surveys gathered since 2010 that covered 130 countries, representing 91 percent of the world’s population.

In recent years in the United States, there have been increased efforts on the part of many groups across the ideological spectrum to address the growing trend of single-parent homes, especially fatherless homes.

Recently research has indicated that children raised without a father in the home suffer a host of problems and are more likely to engage in problematic behavior.

In 2017, a study published in the journal Pediatrics found that children whose fathers either died or were incarcerated before age 5 were more likely to experience damage to their chromosomes.

Dr. Daniel Notterman of Princeton University, a co-author of the 2017 study, stated at the time that he was surprised at the impact on the children's DNA.

“Children need fathers; they're very important. They play an economic role, but also provide love and attention, stability and cohesion, and they're role models,” said Notterman.

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