Defying The Black Fatherhood Stereotype, Study Finds African-American Dads Are Very Involved In Kids’ Lives

January 21, 2014  |  

We are often bombarded with messages claiming that Black fathers are often deadbeat and aloof in their children’s lives. But is this really true? The Center for Disease Control (CDC) explored this question and the results just might surprise you!

In fact, according to Think Progress, the study squashed the myth of the “absent black father.” Research entitled “Fathers’ Involvement With Their Children” finds that Black men are just as involved in their kids’ lives, if not more, than other races.

Among children under the age of five, the lead investigators analyzed how fathers interacted with their kids in four categories: Fed or ate meals with children daily; Bathed, diapered or dressed children daily; Played with children daily; and Read to children daily. In each category, Black men had the highest percentage of involvement.

Nearly 78 percent of Black dads fed or ate with their children — 74 percent of Whites and 64 percent of Latinos did the same. Among dads who held their nose to change diapers everyday, 70 percent of Blacks bit the bullet. Only 60 percent and 45 percent of Whites and Latinos — respectively — did likewise. The percentage of Black and White fathers who played with their kids were about the same — 82 percent. Among Hispanic men, however, this figure drops to 74 percent.

Lastly, among men who read to their kids, Blacks — again — were at the forefront with 35 percent and closely followed by Whites with 30 percent. Latino dads plummet to 22 percent.

And here’s an interesting tidbit: Among fathers who weren’t living with their kids, Black fathers still dominate in involvement within all four categories.

Now, the researchers also analyzed fathers’ interaction with kids between the ages of five and 18. In this case, Black fathers were more involved in each category except for one. The categories, according to the CDC, are as follows: Ate meals with children daily; Took children to or from activities daily; Talked to children about their day daily; and Helped children with homework daily.

Among fathers with kids between five and 18, Latinos were more involved in eating with their kids at 71 percent. Whites followed with 64 percent; Blacks fell to the bottom at 62 percent. African-American fathers bounced back in the “taking kids to and from activities” category at 27 percent. Latino dads took second place with 23 percent; Whites fell to 19.5 percent.

The racial disparity among dads who spoke to their kids every day was narrow. About 67 percent of Black and White dads chatted up a storm with their kids while Latinos followed closely at 63 percent.

Lastly, homework-helping Black fathers took the lead by a landslide: 41 percent. Whites and Latinos helped with schoolwork at 28 and 29 percent, respectively.

Just goes to show you that while Black American fathers are often dragged through the mud, it’s interesting that America isn’t looking at other races who — according to this study — are far more uninvolved than their African-American counterparts.

This study is based on a representative sample of 10,403 dads between the ages of 15 and 44.

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