Auditor: Mississippi taxpayers losing hundreds of millions due to children living in fatherless homes

Published 8:50 am Thursday, January 12, 2023

Mississippi taxpayers will lose hundreds of millions of dollars due to the negative impact of fatherless children in the state,, according to Mississippi State Auditor Shad White.

White hosted a panel discussion on the positive impact present fathers have on their children on Wednesday. The panel was held at Germantown High School after White issued an August 2022 report showing the societal and economic costs of fatherlessness in Mississippi.

White was joined by Jack Brewer and Lynn Hosemann. Brewer is a former NFL player and White House appointee, and Hosemann is an advocate for children and Second Lady of Mississippi. Former Miss Mississippi and Miss USA Asya Branch also delivered a special message during the event.

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The panel discussed widely available data demonstrating the importance of a father or father figure in a child’s life. Points of discussion included:

  • Fatherless children are less likely to obtain a high school degree than children with present fathers. The Auditor’s report shows Mississippi taxpayers will likely lose $560 million due to the fatherless children who dropped out of school during the 2021-2022 school year alone.
  • Boys from fatherless homes are more likely to go to prison than boys who have present fathers. Statistics show Mississippi taxpayers likely pay $180 million each year to imprison men who were raised in a fatherless home.
  • Fatherless girls are more likely to be teen mothers than girls with involved fathers. Data show taxpayers in Mississippi likely spent over $50 million on costs like increased foster care as a result of fatherless teen mothers in 2019 alone.

According to the August 2022 report, “social science research 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.

Other studies show fatherless boys are more likely to become men who enter the corrections system. Still more research shows fatherless girls are more likely to become teenage mothers. Both incarceration and teenage pregnancy are strongly associated with the high school dropout rate.

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,” the report said.