Dads’ Resource Center Analysis of the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997

The Dads’ Resource Center has completed an analysis of the most recent data available from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997 (NLSY97 Data Overviewwhich looked at outcomes for the children from households with both biological parents compared to those without a biological father in the household. In every metric that was analyzed children raised in a home without their father have struggled in life much more than those who were raised in homes with both of their parents. This was true regardless of race or gender. 

NLSY 1997 Findings

After analyzing the most recent data from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth 1997, we have found that regardless of race or gender, children raise in homes without their fathers were:

  • 71% More likely to have been convicted of a crime
  • 43% Less likely to have graduated from college
  • 33% More likely to have intercourse before the age of 17
  • 26% Less likely to vote
  • 20% More likely to have used hard drugs
  • 13% Less likely to donate to charity
  • 13% More likely to have needed mental health treatment
  • 11% Less likely to volunteer their time to the community
  • 11% more likely to have smoked
  • 7% Less likely to have graduated from high school

As we analyzed the data further, we discovered that there future economical risks for children who grow up in a home without a biological father in the household such as

  • 94% More likely to have used government programs such as WIC, SNAP and Workers Compensation. 
  • Earn 26% less annually ($43,938 vs $59,490)

The NLSY97 is a nationally representative sample of men and women born between 1980 and 1984 living in the United States. Survey participants, now aged 37 to 41, have completed their young adult years. To provide some context as to how detrimental father absence is we have projected the total number of adults in Pennsylvania who likely have been similarly impacted based on the percentages found in the NLSY97 group:

  • 220,000 have not graduated from high school
  • 290,000 have not volunteered their time to the community
  • 300,000 have used hard drugs
  • 290,000 have not donated to a charity
  • 380,000 have smoked
  • 410,000 have been convicted of a crime
  • 470,000 have not voted
  • 570,000 had intercourse before the age of 17
  • 620,000 have used government programs such as WIC, SNAP and Workers Compensation
  • 760,000 have not graduated from college

About Dads’ Resource Center

Established in 2015 by AccuWeather Founder and CEO Dr. Joel N. Myers, the Dads’ Resource Center believes that the courts, governmental and social agencies have a solemn obligation to do all they can to ensure that dads are given a fair chance to provide the time, emotional and financial support that their children require and deserve. We believe there needs to be systemic reform that rapidly transforms and modernizes the attitudes and practices of the courts, governmental and social agencies to ensure that both parents are given an equal opportunity to be active in the life of their children.

The Dads’ Resource Center is an institutional partner of the Pennsylvania Greater Father Family Involvement Campaign (PAGFFIC.ORG), which has the goal of convincing the Pennsylvania General Assembly to establish in statute a fatherhood commission that promotes greater father family involvement in the lives of children and families.

DRC NLSY97 Executive Summary PA
DRC NLSY97 Executive Summary US