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Lindsay Mitchell: WHERE DOES HE LIVE? Measuring father absence in New Zealand

Thousands of New Zealand children struggle with having no father in their lives, and a new report from Family First - WHERE DOES HE LIVE? Measuring Father Absence in New Zealand - finds little change since Children's Commissioner Laurie O'Reilly described fatherless families as the 'greatest social challenge facing New Zealanders' in 1998.


Last year one in twenty births had no father registered; one in six did not have a father living at the same address as the mother and almost one in five had parents with no stated legal relationship.


For the past fifty years married and unmarried births have broadly trended in opposite directions and are steadily converging. In the year to June 2022, 49.8% of all births were unmarried. In the June quarter alone births to unmarried parents surpassed the halfway mark for the first time reaching 50.7%.





Children are also increasingly being born to de facto relationships (30% of all births) which do not have the same stability as marriages. In the absence of comprehensive NZ data, analysis from the US, UK and 16 other countries found that 'children born to cohabiting couples were over twice as likely to experience at least one maternal union transition by age 12 than children born to married couples.'


Maori children are the most likely to experience father absence. The proportion of Maori babies born to married parents has fallen from a relatively high level of 72% in 1968 to just 20% in the June 2022 quarter. Maori children are the most likely to experience living with a sole parent.


For children, father absence is associated with poverty, material hardship, abuse and neglect, lower cognitive capacity, substance use, poorer physical and mental health and criminal offending. But estranged fathers can also suffer materially and emotionally. The mortality rate of fathers paying child support is significantly higher than the norm.


There are some positive trends for the prospects of father absence reducing. The teenage birth rate is plummeting, and men are first-time fathering when they are older and more stable. But official projections show sole parent families maintaining their current level through to 2043.


So there is good and bad news. Actual trends hold some promise - predictions, less so. Perhaps those children who grew up without parental stability are successfully seeking it in their own relationships? Let’s hope so.




Lindsay Mitchell blogs here

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58 Comments


If one does not know where they have come from, how do they know where they are going, is it moral decay or have we turned sex into just another boring commodity like buying sweets down at the local shop.

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W deVries
W deVries
Nov 03, 2022

Sadly it's an example of the old adage - you get what you pay for. It's good to have a safety net for people in violent relationships, or perhaps other issues, but it's become something of a career choice for some, and for others, an easier option. When I married my wife 20+ years ago, we said 'for better or for worse'. There have been times it was worse, but because we made a vow before God and His people, we made it work. I accept this can't always happen, but the stats (Stats NZ) show that 40% of marriages will end before the 25yr mark, and fewer and fewer people bother getting married (or civil unioned)... which result…


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Bruizer
Bruizer
Nov 01, 2022

** One solution to the DPB is that if the Female cannot or will not identify the Father of any children, then the DPB should be stopped completely. I am sure the father would soon be identified in these instances.

** When the father is identified he should be tracked down and made to pay for all prior and current maintenance towards the upbringing of any children they have fathered.

** There are of course some women who have several children, all to separate fathers, and do the DPB as a career. That should also be nipped at the bud and the DPB should be discontinued to them also.

** I am sick to death of having to pay through…


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Replying to

Bruizer I couldn’t have written it any better As I have always believed any good Sporting Shop Stocks and Sells the answer But wait they are already doing that to themselves Saves us the job.

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The Marxist agenda is to destroy the family. Ya can't control a country without eliminating the nuclear family unit and with it goes the extended family.


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Octavian Augustus
Octavian Augustus
Oct 31, 2022

"The proportion of Maori babies born to married parents has fallen from a relatively high level of 72% in 1968 to just 20% in the June 2022 quarter. Maori children are the most likely to experience living with a sole parent."


Rather than co-governance and endless handouts, probably the best way to help Maori (and everyone else, for that matter) do better in almost all social metrics would be to promote Christianity, rather than condemn it. Christianity stands directly in the way of the type of dystopian nightmare the opinion makers and policy implementers want for us all (and have given us), which is why they hate Christianity so much.


One way Christianity acts as a social cement is that…


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JW
JW
Nov 01, 2022
Replying to

Religion is far from the only factor affecting household types. People’s living arrangements are shaped by many circumstances, including laws, cultural norms, personal situations and economic opportunities, however it is worth noting a Pew Research Center study found that Muslim children are more likely to be living in a 2 parent household than those in Christian households.

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