Growing Number of Dads at Home with the Kids

Jim Liebelt | Senior Writer, Editor and Researcher for the HomeWord Center for Youth and Family at Azusa Pacific University | Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Growing Number of Dads at Home with the Kids

A recent study from Pew Research finds that the number of fathers who stay at home with their children has nearly doubled since 1989, from 1.1 million to 2 million in 2012.

High unemployment rates have contributed to the recent increases, but the biggest contributor in "stay-at-home-fathers" is the rising number of dads who are at home primarily to care for their family.

While most stay-at-home parents are mothers, fathers represent a growing share of all at-home parents --- 16% in 2012, up from 10% in 1989. Roughly a quarter of these stay-at-home fathers (23%) report that they are home mainly because they cannot find a job. Nearly as many (21%) say the main reason they are home is to care for their home or family. This represents a fourfold increase from 1989, when only 5% of stay-at-home fathers said they were home primarily to care for family.

A rise in the number of stay-at-home fathers is occurring side by side with another important parenting trend of the past half century: a rising share of fathers who don't live with their children at all. About 16 percent of fathers with young children lived apart from all of their children.

As is the case among mothers, stay-at-home fathers are less well-off financially and have lower educational attainment than their working counterparts. At-home fathers are twice as likely to lack a high school diploma as working fathers (22% vs. 10%). And almost half (47%) of stay-at-home fathers are living in poverty, compared with 8% of working fathers. This poverty figure is even higher than among stay-at-home mothers (34% of whom are in poverty), and may be due, in part, to the fact that stay-at-home fathers are far less likely to have a working spouse than stay-at-home mothers (50% vs. 68%) and are more likely to be ill or disabled than stay-at-home mothers (35% vs. 11%).

Source: Pew Research Center