When talking about the importance of fathers, it perhaps becomes even clearer when we look at what happens when fathers aren’t there. From an economic standpoint, fatherless children are more likely to be poor; data from 2011 found that 12 percent of children in married-couple families were living in poverty, compared to 44 percent of kids living in single-mother families.
For daughters, the lack of a father figure has been correlated with a greater risk of teen pregnancy or early marriage before education is complete. Fathers act as protectors both physically and emotionally; as the traditionally strong, manly figures in the family, they may act as barriers to anything from bullying to child abuse. According to a 2009 study using data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study, children without their biological fathers were more likely to be abused or neglected, oftentimes by the non-biological father or the man dating their mother. When a biological dad is around, kids are more likely to be protected.