Each state has the power to establish its own policy and laws relating to child custody determination. The number of single-parent families with children that are headed by fathers has been growing in the United States. This paper explores the extent of cross-state variation in the prevalence in father-only families in 1990, and the extent to which there was cross-state variation in the increase in father-only families in the 1980s. The 1980 and 1990 Public Use Microdata Samples (PUMS) drawn from the US decennial censuses are used. Decomposition analyses of growth indicate that increases in the number of father-only families occurred across all states during this period, but at varying rates. The primary reason for the increase in most states is an increase in the proportion of ever-married single-parent families that are headed by a father. It is for these families that are headed by divorced or separated parents that state policy relating to child custody determination is most relevant.
Population Research and Policy Review – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 7, 2004
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