According to a new report released by State Auditor Shad White, Mississippi taxpayers will see an additional $700 million annually in spending obligations as a result of fatherlessness.
“Mississippians know that engaged fathers are critical for the well-being of children,” White said. “The added discipline and income that comes from two committed parents is important for everyone to understand. But it’s particularly important for taxpayers to understand because they often bear the cost of broken homes.”
The latest report, combining expert research with data from Mississippi, shows that:
- Fatherless children are less likely to obtain a high school degree. Taxpayers will likely lose $560 million due to the fatherless children who dropped out of school during the 2021-2022 school year alone.
- Fatherless boys are more likely to go to prison than boys who have present fathers. Taxpayers in Mississippi likely pay $180 million each year to imprison fatherless male prisoners.
- Fatherless girls are more likely to be teen mothers than girls with involved fathers. Taxpayers likely spent over $50 million on costs like increased foster care as a result of fatherless teen mothers in 2019 alone.
The state auditor added that his report was not intended to take anything away from the valiant efforts of single mothers who dedicate everything to raising their children, but he wanted Mississippians to see the harsh reality caused by absentee fathers.
“I have single mothers in my own family, and they worked tirelessly to raise their children. This report doesn’t take away from their herculean efforts,” White said. “But men — and taxpayers — in Mississippi need to see the sad results when dads do not show up for their kids.”
White argues that fatherlessness is a cyclical issue faced by families and taxpayers across the country, but believes that there are solutions to mitigate the detrimental effect it has on children.
His office identified the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps (JROTC) as a program helping interrupt the cycle of fatherlessness. The program teaches high school students military history and provides structure, discipline, and physical exercise for its enrollees. In Jackson Public Schools, nearly 100% of JROTC students obtain a high school diploma despite a 75% district-wide graduation rate.