The Sociology of African American Nonresident Fatherhood

Susan D. Stewart, Iowa State University

Researchers commonly compare the parental involvement of black and white nonresident fathers without considering the unique life circumstances of African American men. Using a sample of men drawn from the National Longitudinal Survey of Youth (NLSY79), this study examines the characteristics of African American and white nonresident fathers. Unlike previous research, nonresident fathers are separated into men who were married, cohabiting, and not in a union at the time of their child's birth. Given dramatic race differences in family formation patterns, this may be a potentially important distinction. Moreover, this study examines a wider array of men's characteristics than have prior studies, such as the planning status of the child, time spent working nonstandard hours, church attendance, and support from extended family members. The results of this study will provide insight into African American nonresident fathers' lives and will have important implications for social policy aimed at increasing African American men's involvement with their children.

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Presented in Session 91: Race, Ethnicity, and the Family