Conservatives often point out that father absence is more common among blacks than among whites. Last year, however, a CDC study seemed to contradict this idea, suggesting that black dads are just as involved as white dads, and in some ways more involved. That study has gained renewed attention lately.
The problem is that the study didn't really show what some claimed it did. In fact, it showed that black dads are far more likely to live away from their kids — and that living with one's kids is (unsurprisingly) a huge predictor of how much time one spends with them. Black dads who do live with their kids are at least as involved as white dads in the same situation, and the same is true of black vs. white dads who don't, but it's not clear who denied that to begin with.
That said, given how much we talk about race and father absence, it's good to take a closer look at how involved black and white dads are in their kids' lives. The CDC doesn't give good numbers on that front — in its racial breakdowns, it insists on dividing dads into those who do and don't live with their kids, rather than giving overall tallies. But, bearing in mind the wrinkle that some dads (the 11 percent who live with some kids but not others) are counted twice, we can do some simple math and get a sense of the numbers.
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