Narrator: I dont know my dad. I mean, I know him, but... he left
when I was like six years old. Married this other woman, had some
other kids. He like did this every six years, he goes to a new city
and starts a new family.
Tyler Durden: F*****s setting up franchises.
I wrote a post in December last year detailing homicide data in Youngstown. When contructing that post, I looked at the available data for the homicides committed over the last few years. i was able to pinpoint things such as victim age and the zip codes within the city where the killings took place. I ended that post by hoping that someone would look at demographic data and see if it was possible to determine what was different about Youngstown than surrounding communities.
No one picked up that baton.
After all, we all live in the Mahoning Valley. The same economic forces affect people in the city as well as those in the suburbs. The weather is the same, commute times aren't terribly different and we all share a common bond just by living here. A rising tide floats all boats so it's best for all of us if the city succeeds. There is no gain in writing off Youngstown and hoping the suburbs do better. That's a zero sum game.
Last week Bertram DeSouza wrote a fairly nice opinion piece in The Vindicator about the horrific murder rate the city is currently enduring and raised the issue of black-on-black crime and the lack of attention it is getting from groups like ACTION. Bertram may be on to something and I'll leave it to him to run with the ball and see how the play develops. But he said something about the children of absentee fathers that sent me off in search of measurments that I hoped could put things in perspective.
They’ve come from broken homes, attended broken schools, grown up without role models and are now on the streets, making their own rules.
So I dug into the demographic data collected by the Census Bureau and started doing comparisons between the city and the surrounding communities.
It turns out that dads are important. And not just being "around" either. Having dad in the home day in and day out is one of the best ways to ensure a child's success. Good, long term, stable family environments prepare children to do well in school, graduate, and go on to college and give them a better shot at successful lives. Communities with large numbers of female householders, with no husband present face enormous challenges. The following graphs describe how we fail when fathers are not in the home.
The data collected is from http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/39/3975126.html. The communities being compared are Youngstown and its neighbors, Austintown, Boardman, Canfield, Cambell, Girard, Hubbard and Struthers. Data was not available for Liberty and Poland.
Graduation Rates for Children in Households with a Female Householder, No Husband Present
Education is very important. No one will argue that fact. Education empowers individuals and gives them the best chance to take care of themselves and better their station in life. This graph shows a correlation between a high percentage of single mother households and lower graduation rates.
Home Ownership Rates and the Effect of Households with a Female Householder, No Husband Present
Stability in a child's life is important. They need to know mom and dad are there to take care of them but infrastructure is important too. A familiar home reduces stress on children. When children can concretely point to their home they are more relaxed and act out less. This graph shows that in our area, home ownership is more likely when there is a lower instance of female householders with no husband present.
Living in the Same House One Year and Over
Again, this graph brings us back to the subject of stability in a child's life. In households where there is only a single mother, there is a greater chance the family will move more often. From personal experience, I can attest to how often single parent families move around. It is hard to stay rooted and make friends when moving from rental to rental. Making friends and knowing your neighbors helps children socialize which leads to less problems at school.
This post should not be seen as beating up on single mothers. It's an incredibly hard job. Rather, this post should be read and distributed to the fathers that walk away from their families or who have children with more than one woman while being married to none.
Those men who abdicate their responsibility are making life more diffcult on the rest of us. Their children are more likely to require social services, do poorly in school and have no positive role models to pattern themselves after. Why are we surprised when young men grow up to be violent or commit criminal acts when they were never shown how to be a good man? If they were never taught to care for their family and be in that house day after day, why are we surprised when they run from the responsibility of raising a child of their own?
The next post will deal with the repercussions of absentee fathers on the well being of both the community and their children.