Dad Dismantles Popular Statistic Saying Kids Raised By Single Mothers End Up In Jail — 'You Made This Up To Justify Your Feelings'

We've all heard it a million times, but it turns out it's not even remotely true. In fact, it's the opposite.

dad from tiktok refuting the claim that kids raised by single mothers end up in jail @expatriarch / TikTok

A dad on TikTok is on a one-man crusade to disprove a claim we've all heard innumerable times: kids raised by single mothers end up in jail at staggeringly high rates. It's been rehashed so many times over so many decades, usually by people acting in bad faith, that it's come to seem like an accepted fact.

The problem is, as this TikToker lays out, it's utterly fallacious and deeply rooted in misogyny.


The common claim that 70 to 80 percent of kids raised by single mothers end up in jail is utterly false.

There's no denying that growing up with a so-called "deadbeat dad" or absent father has far-reaching effects on kids. The loss of a parent, whether through death, divorce, abandonment or even emotional absence, is included on the list of traumas that comprises the ACES list, or Adverse Childhood Experiences.

RELATED: Single Mom Given A Year To Live Frantically Raises Money For Her Kids While Struggling With How To Tell Them She's Dying

These experiences lead to higher rates of everything from mental illness and heart disease to decreased earnings and substance abuse.


But for years now, a misleading claim has been made which pins the blame for this adversity not on absent fathers but on single mothers, claiming that 70-80% of kids raised by single mothers end up incarcerated.

As open misogyny has become de rigueur again among certain political demographics, online "incel" and "alpha male" communities — and their beloved influencers like alleged human trafficker Andrew Tate and psychologist Jordan Peterson — that statistic has once again been rearing its ugly head.

Brent, a dad and TikToker known as @expatriarch, has had enough of this specious disinformation, and dismantled it in an eye-opening TikTok video.


RELATED: Man Says That Any Woman Who Nurtures & Cares For Her Children Is Just 'Average' — 'She Doesn't Deserve A Pat On The Back Or Compensation For That'



The supposed statistic isn't even mathematically possible.

Brent's video begins with a series of recent clips of these types of male influencers and podcasters making the claim to justify labeling single mothers as "the worst parents of all." But, as Brent puts it, "these aren't facts, they're just things you made up to justify your feelings."

As Brent cites in his video, the Department of Justice says that, as of 2021, the most recent year for which statistics have been analyzed, there were approximately 1.2 million people incarcerated in the United States. Seventy percent of 1.2 million would mean about 840,000 of those inmates were raised by single mothers.


RELATED: Single Mom Shares All The Work She Does To Make Rent Because Her Full-Time Job Doesn't Cut It

dad refuting claim kids raised by single mothers end up in jailPhoto: TikTok / @expatriarch

According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation, whose statistics are used by the U.S. Census Bureau, there are an estimated 24 million children living in single-parent homes today, a number that has consistently hovered above 15,000,000 since 1995.


Grab your calculator if you need to, but the math doesn't even begin to add up.

In his video, Brent uses the rough midpoint of this range to lay out how the 70-80% claim makes absolutely no sense. "Seventy percent of the estimated 19 million children raised in single mother homes would be about 13 million." Given that there are only 1.2 million people in prison, 70-80% is... well "an absurdly wrong number," as Brent puts it.

Brent points out that the details of these claims, made almost solely by men, vary widely. "We're not sure if it's 70% or if it's 80%, if it represents all prisoners, just young men, or only Black men. But what we do know [according to these inaccurate claims] is that prisons are full of young men from single mother homes, and the womenfolk are to blame for it."

But despite how absurd the claim is, it continues to be discussed by everyone from politicians to family law attorneys who represent fathers in court to garden variety misogynists as if it's gospel.


RELATED: Lawyer Says Moms Who Won't Let Their Kids See Their Fathers Need To 'Do Better'

Likewise, there is a similar claim that 70% of juvenile delinquents come from single-mother homes.

This claim, too, is untrue, and comes from a 35-year-old report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. But as Brent explains, aside from the fact that the figure is 35 years out of date, it's also been misrepresented.

The report states 70% of juvenile delinquents come from not only single-parent homes — including kids raised by their fathers — but also kids raised by other relatives or in foster homes. Single-parent homes — again, including single fathers — accounted for only 54% of juvenile delinquents overall.

dad refuting claim kids raised by single mothers end up in jailPhoto: TikTok / @expatriarch


RELATED: Single Mom Called Out For Lying To Her Daughter When Her Dad Doesn't Show Up To 'Save Her From Disappointment'

It's true that kids raised by single mothers end up in jail at higher rates, but it's actually kids raised by single fathers who have the worst outcomes of all.

Brent next referred to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, whose analysis shows that the rate of incarceration for kids of single mothers is almost equal to that of single fathers — in 2016, the Bureau found that 41.1% of prisoners were raised by single moms, while 40.7% were raised by single dads.

Still, that does indicate elevated risk of ending up in jail for kids raised in single-parent homes. But as Brent points out, even that has been misrepresented. "Since your lifetime incarceration risk is about 5%, what that means is instead of 70% of children raised by single mothers going to jail, actually, well over 80% will avoid ever seeing a jail," he said.

RELATED: Woman Says That There Are So Many ‘Single Moms’ Now Because They Are Done ‘Accepting The Bare Minimum’


But most striking of all? It's the kids being raised by single dads who have the worst statistics when it comes to ending up in jail, especially once their dad finds a new girlfriend or remarries. Brent cited a landmark study from Princeton University's Center for Research on Child Wellbeing which showed that kids raised by single mothers do, in fact, have three times the risk of ending up in jail.

dad refuting the claim that kids raised by single mothers end up in jailPhoto: TikTok / @expatriarch

As Brent put it, "single fathers with a new partner offer the worst outcomes, beating out single mothers, single mothers with stepfathers, and even children not raised by either parent."


But it gets worse. Men who banter about statistics about the supposed single-mom-to-prison pipeline frequently claim that fathers are absent because their kids' mothers are keeping them from them.

RELATED: Single Dad Wants To Put His 2-Year-Old Up For Adoption After Feeling 'Unfulfilled' & 'Alone' In Fatherhood

But the data doesn't really bear that out, either. A University of Nebraska-Lincoln study cited in Brent's TikTok showed that 40% of single fathers abandon their kids within eight years — a rate that, once again, skyrockets when the single father finds a new partner.

The bottom line? Brent summed it up perfectly: "If we really care about improving childhood outcomes, then we need to stop talking about single mothers and instead talk about... fathers that treat their children as disposable."


These supposedly incompetent single mothers aren't out here spontaneously reproducing asexually, after all. They're not the dinosaurs in "Jurassic Park."

And when it comes to the actual risk factors for kids in single-parent homes, the data doesn't lie. As so many of today's misogynist male podcasters, influencers and agitators like to say, "facts don't care about your feelings." Sorry/not sorry about that, bros.

RELATED: Single Mom Struggles To Feed Her Two Kids So Her Son Sells His Only Toy To Help

John Sundholm is a news and entertainment writer who covers pop culture, social justice and human interest topics.