Father's Day

A portrait of the changing American family.

Make room for daddies--of the single variety, that is. Although single mothers are still much more the norm--and likely to remain so--that doesn't mean all is status quo under American roofs. Rather, in a move that's bound to spark interest in a revival of television's "Courtship of Eddie's Father" (please!) or even the more recent "My Two Dads" (please, no!), single fathers are becoming more prevalent. Dare we suggest these father figures add up to a trend of some import?

We dare. As calculated by the U.S. Census Bureau, families headed by single fathers have mushroomed from 1 percent to 5 percent since 1970. Again, the numbers may not speak volumes--single, child-rearing daddies are still not quite 2 million strong--but their rate of growth is more than enough to warrant attention from market-savvy businesses.

And, oh yes, there's a certain cache to be considered. Either as a result of the changing demographic makeup of the American family--or, ahem, the lack of originality in Hollywood--there's no shortage of single dads in TV land. From "The Gregory Hines Show" to "The Tom Show" to "The Nanny," there's an abundance of solo fathers who knowingly (or otherwise) do their best. Our best advice? Don't tune out this market.

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This article was originally published in the March 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Roundabout.

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