father and son

A record eight percent of single dads are heading United States households, according to new findings from the Pew Research Center based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau. With fewer than 300,000 families led by single fathers in 1960, over the past 50 years, the number increased to 2.6 million in 2011. Now, a quarter of all single-parent families are led by men, which showcases a growing trend in American society—only two-thirds of U.S. homes are run by married couples as compared to the nearly 90% that fit this statistic in 1960, according to NBC News.

Some of the factors that may be contributing to this shift are: the growing number of babies born to unmarried couples (four in 10 births in 2008, according to Pew); higher divorce rates with more opportunities for child custody through an improved legal system; and an increase in the number of breadwinner moms that has nearly tripled the average amount of time fathers spend with their kids (from 2.5 hrs/wk in 1965 to 7.3 hrs/wk in 2011, according to Pew). In fact, 27 percent of fathers under the age of 30 are single parents.

Though the number of single dads in on the rise, they are still vastly outnumbered by single moms, which consisted of 8.6 million households in 2011. Pew found that single dads are more likely to be less educated and older than single moms, make more money, and live with a partner (41 percent of single fathers versus 16 percent of single mothers).

Image: Father and son, via Shutterstock