While single fathers are nowhere near as prevalent as single mothers, a new study found that single fathers account for 4.6% of families where parents live with their children.

This translates to more than 1.5 million single fathers, nationwide, according to a news release. Additionally, the study found that Nevada (6.8%), Montana (6.3%), and Oklahoma (6.1%) are the places with the highest prevalence of single-father families.

Key Findings
  • Single-father families are most prevalent in Nevada (6.8%), Montana (6.3%), and Oklahoma (6.1%). These are the only places in the country where single fathers represent more than 6% of families where parents live with their children.
  • On the other hand, the states where single-father families are least prevalent are Utah (3.6%), New Jersey (3.6%), Massachusetts (3.7%), and New York (3.9%). These are the only places in the country where single-father families account for less than 4% of families where parents live with their children.
  • While single fathers still outearn single mothers, they earn a third less than the average for all families where parents live with their children. The average income for single-father families is $67,405 — the average income for families where parents live with their parents is $101,536.
  • Single fathers are typically more educated than cohabiting parents — only 12% of cohabiting fathers have at least a bachelor’s degree, compared with 26% of single fathers.

Here are the top 10 states with the highest prevalence of single-father families:

  1. Nevada – 6.8%
  2. Montana – 6.3%
  3. Oklahoma – 6.1%
  4. New Mexico – 5.8%
  5. Delaware – 5.7% – tied
  6. South Dakota – 5.7% – tied
  7. Wisconsin – 5.7% – tied
  8. Maine – 5.6% – tied
  9. North Dakota – 5.6% – tied
  10. Arizona – 5.5% – tied
  11. Kentucky – 5.5% – tied
  12. Vermont – 5.5% – tied

“Being a single parent is a monumental task for anyone. While single fathers tend to earn more than single mothers and are even more likely to have a college degree than men living in two-parent households, their job of raising a kid by themselves is anything but easy,” said LendingTree’s Chief Credit Analyst, Matt Schulz in the news release.

For single fathers looking to expand their financial freedom, Schulz offers the following advice:

  • Creating and sticking to a budget offers the ability to make choices and prioritize what matters, Schulz says. With clearly defined limitations and areas of flexibility, a budget makes it easier to prioritize expenses, plan for the future and pay off existing debt.
  • Be thoughtful about your future expenses. “Don’t hesitate to trim some expenses to free up money to fund your priorities,” Schulz said. “Get creative with ways to bring in a little more income.”
  • Take action, no matter how small. “Life is the most stressful when things feel out of our control,” Schulz added. “Taking steps to improve your situation, even small ones, can be empowering and motivating, and that feeling can keep you moving forward even on the most challenging days.

To view the full report, visit here.


LendingTree researchers analyzed microdata from the U.S. Census Bureau 2020 American Community Survey (five-year estimates) to calculate the number of families headed by single men, single women, married couples, and unmarried couples who live with their children younger than 18.

For this study, single parents are people living with their minor children who are neither married nor living with unmarried partners. Married and unmarried partners include same-sex couples.

“Own children” include biological, adopted, and stepchildren who are younger than 18 and unmarried. This study doesn’t include households and institutions where children live without at least one parent.

Source: LendingTree