Report states that Mississippi taxpayers will see an additional $700 million in current, future spending obligations each year due to fatherlessness.

The Mississippi Office of the State Auditor (OSA) released a report today titled, “Dads Matter: The Taxpayer Cost of Fatherlessness.” The report presents research that shows engaged fathers are critical for a healthy society.

“By comparison, fatherlessness creates myriad costs, both social and economic. Studies show that fatherless children do not go as far in school, have more health problems, and are less financially secure as adults,” the report states.

The Auditor’s report continued to state that other studies show fatherless boys are more likely to become men who enter the corrections system and fatherless girls are more likely to become teenage mothers.

“Both incarceration and teenage pregnancy are strongly associated with the high school dropout rate,” the report states. “These results of fatherlessness are a tragedy for children, and taxpayers often bear the financial costs. More than 250,000 Mississippi children live in fatherless homes. This means fatherlessness is a problem taxpayers cannot afford to ignore.

OSA compiled research to show how the costs of fatherlessness affect taxpayers and all Mississippians.

“Fatherlessness poses threats to both the economic and social wellbeing of Mississippi communities. Data suggest even a small decrease in the number of fatherless homes might save taxpayers money,” the report said. “This report estimates that, through increased incarceration rates, increased education costs, and other drivers of taxpayer spending, Mississippi taxpayers will see an additional $700 million in current and future spending obligations each year due to fatherlessness.”

“As State Auditor, one of my jobs is to tell you how much our most pressing problems cost taxpayers. One of our gravest challenges: children growing up without engaged fathers in the home,” State Auditor Shad White said.

Auditor White said that the report contains research showing the costs of fatherlessness, but the report proposes solutions as well.

In the conclusion of the report, OSA said that Mississippi policymakers should expand programs like JROTC and consider new ways to address fatherlessness and mitigate its effects. 

“Mississippi children, families, and taxpayers alike will be better for it,” the report concluded.

Click here to read the full report.