While most of the child-rearing responsibilities are accomplished by stay-at-home mothers, the number of fathers staying at home with their children is on the rise. According to a 2012 Pew Research Center report, 16% of stay-at-home parents are dads. Of this 16 percent, 23 percent are home because of employment gaps, but 21 percent are there primarily to raise the kids. 35% are home due to disability or illness. As of 2012, there were roughly 2 million stay-at-home dads, a 5% increase since 1989.
Barring unemployment or health reasons, the 21% of dads who make the decision to take an active role in child-rearing by staying home seems to be driven by financial reasons. As is the case with mothers, stay-at-home dads typically have less financial opportunity and often have a lower educational attainment than their working spouse.
The 2012 Pew Research Center survey also found that, like moms, dads report that it is difficult to balance the demands of work and family. A near equal number of moms and dads polled said they would prefer to stay home and raise the kids, but many have to work to secure needed income.
Although the number of stay-at-home dads is rising, public sentiment is mixed. Various respondents to a 2013 Pew Research survey were very supportive of ‘mom’ staying home with the children, but not so much with ‘dad’. 51% of the respondents said children are better off with their mother who doesn’t hold a job as compared to only 8% favoring fathers.
No matter how you divvy up the responsibilities, parenting is both challenging and rewarding. Follow CBS This Morning’s link to see one stay-at-home dad in action. If you need help with a family law issue, contact the Law Offices of Ronald L. Bell, PC.
Sources: Pew Research Center, “Growing Number of Dads Home with the Kids”, by Gretchen Livingston, accessed February 11, 2015.
CBSNews.com, “Stay-at-home Dads Putting Kids Before Careers”, accessed February 11, 2015