Truth, Inspiration, Hope.

The ‘Most Fatherless Generation’: California Pastor Describes the Consequences of a Growing Crisis

Neil Campbell
Neil lives in Canada and writes about society and politics.
Published: January 18, 2023
Pastor and author Kris Vallotton says that the "pandemic of fatherlessness" is driving a high suicide rate
Toronto Blue Jays First Baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. gives the ball to his father, former Montreal Expo Vladimir Guerrero, during a ceremony before a game at the Rogers Centre on July 2, 2022. Author and pastor Kris Vallotton pointed out during a recent podcast the strong link between suicide and what he described as a “pandemic of fatherlessness.” (Image: Mark Blinch/Getty Images)

Fatherlessness and the erosion of the traditional family structure has served as the root of a variety of serious social and societal consequences, surmised Pastor Kris Vallotton, author of the book Uprising: The Epic Battle for the Most Fatherless Generation in History.

Vallotton made the statements during a Jan. 9 interview with Virginia Allen during her podcast for conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation’s media platform, The Daily Signal.

“Fifty-one percent of all children in America right now are born out of wedlock—51%,” Vallotton stated, characterizing the statistic as a “pandemic of fatherlessness.” 

Vallotton, who is senior associate leader of Bethel Church in Redding, northern California, noted the number had clearly formed a long-running trend, contrasting the figure against a 4-percent birth out of wedlock ratio in 1950.


The pastor’s figures are congruent with data published by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control — only updated through 2020 — which found that 40.5 percent of all child births are to unmarried women, amounting to almost 1.5 million annually.

Moreover, 2022 data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that out of an approximate 73,289,000 children aged under 18 years,  roughly 18,397,000 are living either with their mother only or without either parent, amounting to slightly more than 25 percent.

The trend Vallotton described is illustrated by an article published by the D.C.-based Brookings Institution as far back as 1995 — co-authored by no other than current Secretary of Treasury and former Federal Reserve Chairman Janet Yellen and UC Berkeley professor George Akerlof.

Yellen and Akerlof opened their article with data relevant at the time, “Since 1970, out-of-wedlock birth rates have soared. In 1965, 24 percent of black infants and 3.1 percent of white infants were born to single mothers. By 1990 the rates had risen to 64 percent for black infants, 18 percent for whites.” 

“Every year about one million more children are born into fatherless families,” the article added.

The duo continued, “If we have learned any policy lesson well over the past 25 years, it is that for children living in single-parent homes, the odds of living in poverty are great. The policy implications of the increase in out-of-wedlock births are staggering.”

Vallotton showed that Yellen and Akerlof’s thesis was proven highly accurate 28 years later when he revealed to listeners that “63% of all youth suicides come from fatherless homes.”

“So you’re five times more likely to commit suicide if you don’t have a dad,” the pastor calculated.

CDC data, which is again recent only through 2020, shows that 45,979 Americans committed suicide in 2020, amounting to 13.96 percent of all U.S. deaths.

More alarmingly, data from the National Institutes of Health states that in 2020, suicide was the second leading cause of death between 10-to-14-year-olds, the third leading cause among 15-to-24-year-olds, and the fourth leading cause among 25-to-34-year-olds.

‘A spiritual and social virus’

Vallotton doesn’t provide a source for his five times more likely statistic, and specific data on parental status of suicide victims does not appear to be collected by a federal agency. However, a 2003 study published in the Lancet found that “the risk of suicide was more than twice as high among children in one-parent households compared with those living with both parents,” according to a WebMD archive.

The author also told Allen that an exceptionally high ratio of fatherlessness is manifest among inmates, the homeless, high school dropouts, people with behavioral disorders, and those convicted of rape.

“Nobody’s talking about this. You don’t have to be a Christian” to see it, Vallotton added. 

“If you look at the statistics and you realize what’s happening, you would wonder why every spiritual leader, every political leader, every government leader, every teacher isn’t saying, ‘We have a pandemic on our hands. And it’s not just a biological virus. It is a spiritual and social virus that is destroying, really destroying a generation.’”

The pastor said his theory on why fatherlessness has such significant adverse side effects on human psychology “is that your dad gives you your identity.”

“Think about it. His sperm determines your sex. And you typically take on the last name of a husband when you get married in almost every culture. It’s a prophetic declaration that fathers bring identity,” he continued.

Adding, “And when you take away legacy, you take away the hope for the future. When you take away the hope for the future, people live in despair. And so I think that it’s important for us to think about how our life is affecting the coming generations.”

Vallotton also opined that although many loving mothers do right when raising their children, the lack of a father figure nonetheless leaves the next generation lacking one of its two crucial elements, “It takes a mother to give birth to a boy, but it takes a father to give birth to a man. You can teach what you aren’t, but you can only impart who you are.” 

“So mom can’t make a man. She can make a boy, but she can’t make a man,” he concluded.

As for what society can do to rectify the crisis, Vallotton’s position showed a sober understanding of how the problem came about in the first place, “It took us 70 years to get here. OK? We didn’t get here overnight. It took us 70 years—50 strong years, 70 years total.”

He also added that setting right what was put wrong would take both time and effort, “So there’s not a magic pill. ‘We’re going to take this pill. We’re going to vote for this person. We’re going to have this president. We’re going to have this governor. And thank God, we’re good. We’re going to change this law. That’s going to solve the problem’.”

Vallotton’s book can be found for sale in both hardcover, paperback, and Kindle formats on Amazon, where it boasts a 4.9 star rating across 43 reviews.