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Single Father Financial Assistance: What It Is And How It Works

Written by: Jody Adams
Last updated: January 31, 2024

Single fathers are often in greater need of financial assistance than their female counterparts, primarily since men are typically expected to fund alimony and child support along with their everyday living costs.

In a study of 130 countries by the Pew Research Center released in 2019, the U.S. had the highest percentage of children living in single-parent households. Furthermore, the study revealed that 23% of all children in the United States under 18 live with a single parent.

Government agencies primarily provide funding for assistance initiatives; nonprofits and charitable organizations also contribute. In many cases, your household's income level, as compared to the Federal Poverty Level (FPL), is the primary criterion determining whether you qualify for single father financial assistance.

Statistics Why Single Father Financial Assistance Matters 

Stress and pressure increase when there is no partner to share parenting responsibilities with. According to statistics, it is more difficult for single fathers to raise children than single mothers. The following statistics shed some light on the distribution and varying circumstances of single fathers within the United States, based on a 2021 census.

  • 20% of the 11 million single parents were fathers
  • 861,000 single fathers are generation X (49.3%, between the ages of 40 and 54), 645,000 are millennials (37%, between the ages of 25 and 39), 197,000 are baby boomers (11.3%, between the ages of 55 or above), 42,000 are generation Z (2.4%, between the ages of 15 and 24)
  • Ethnicity-wise, 73% (1,637,000) of all the single fathers were White, 18% (416,000) were Black, 3% (71,000) were Asian, and 6% (128,000) were of other ethnicities
  • Of the 19,172,000 children living in single-parent households, 3,565,000 or 5% of all the children in the United States lived with single fathers
  • 62.6% of all single fathers in the United States had one child, 27.8% had two children, 7.4% had three children, and 2.3% of single fathers raised four or more children
  • 41.1% of the single fathers were unmarried, 37.8% were divorced from their wives, 16.8% had been separated from their partners, and 4.3% were widowed
  • Single fathers were earning an average of $84,466 compared to an average of $147,704 for two-parent families
  • Less than half, or 43.1%, of single fathers in the United States received full child support, whereas 18.5% received partial child support and 38.4% received no child support
  • The annual cost of raising a child averaged $10,174, which required a 10% and 35% contribution from the respective annual incomes of two parents and single parents
  • 74.3% of the single fathers had full-time jobs, 16.5% worked part-time jobs, and 9.2% had no jobs
  • 310,000 (13.8%) of all the single father families lived under the national poverty level
  • 31% of all single fathers were living with their parents

Single Father Financial Assistance Available

Caregiving for children can be challenging for single parents, who often make difficult decisions. Single fathers require support regardless of their decision, whether it is putting off college or taking advantage of one of the many other opportunities that may change their lives. The following are a few ways single fathers can get financial assistance to survive.

Education Assistance

If you are a single father looking for ways to help pay for your education, you can apply for plenty of scholarships to help pay for your education. Most grant opportunities are available to students in traditional colleges, but there are few for single parents, including:

Temporary Financial Assistance

Single dads can encounter situations where they need immediate financial assistance to support their children. Some programs provide this assistance, the most popular among which is Temporary Assistance For Needy Families (TANF).

Working parents who meet financial qualifications can receive extra cash for up to two years through this federal block grant program. Federal funding had not been provided in over a decade, but emergency assistance funds of $1 billion were included in the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021. Work or participation in job training for 20 hours a week is required to qualify for TANF for single parents with children under the age of 6. The minimum number of hours parents must work or train is 30 per week.

Food Assistance

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) provides food assistance to single fathers entitled to other welfare forms. Most foods can be purchased with SNAP funds, but not alcohol.

Childcare Assistance

Childcare assistance for single parents is available through a variety of programs. In addition to helping them find jobs, the program also provides child care during the workday. Two programs are available for families whose incomes fall below the poverty level: Head Start and Early Head Start. Medical and dental care, early education, and nutritional assistance are all provided as part of the programs that prepare young children for school.

Housing Assistance

Section 8 Housing Choice Vouchers, which target very low-income families and individuals, are available from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). It helps in providing housing assistance for single fathers. The vouchers are distributed by local agencies that provide public housing and help pay the rent for houses that comply with health and safety regulations. A potential applicant must not have an income that exceeds 50% of the median income of the area where they plan to reside, though 75% of those who receive assistance have incomes below 30%. Contact your local public housing agency or HUD office for more information.

Frequently Asked Questions:

What financial assistance programs are available for single fathers in the US?

Single fathers may qualify for assistance programs such as TANF (Temporary Assistance for Needy Families), SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program), Medicaid, and the Child Tax Credit.

Are there housing assistance programs for single fathers?

Yes, single fathers may be eligible for housing assistance through HUD's Public Housing Program or Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program.

Can single fathers get child care assistance?

Yes, single fathers can apply for child care assistance through the Child Care and Development Fund (CCDF), and some states have additional child care assistance programs.


Over the last few decades, the number of single-father households in the U.S. has grown significantly to a point at which almost one out of four households are headed by single fathers. Resources for them are sometimes more challenging to locate since many assistance-providing organizations serve a larger percentage of single-mom households. Even so, many government and nonprofit programs are expanding to include single parents, irrespective of gender.

If you are a single mom interested in learning more about different grants and programs that can help you with your living situation, read our article about how much single moms can receive in financial aid from the government and charities.

Jody Adams
Jody Adams is an accomplished editor-in-chief with a deep understanding of social care and government benefits issues. With a background in journalism and a master's degree in Public Policy, Jody has spent her career shaping the narrative around social policies and their impact on society. She has worked with renowned publications, effectively bridging the gap between complex policy analysis and public understanding. Jody's editorial expertise ensures that vital information on social care and government benefits reaches a broad audience, empowering individuals to make informed decisions.
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