Stay At Home Fathers - On A Rising Trend
Stay at home fathers are becoming less of a rare species. Due to the economic crisis or a fatherhood awakening? Draw your own conclusions.
In my opinion, one of the most significant social trends since 2000 appears to be the rise in the number of stay-at-home fathers.
No matter your source of information, statistics are showing a dramatic increase in fathers staying home to raise their children. In fact according to Newsweek Magazine, the last decade has shown the number of stay-at-home dads has tripled over the last ten years.
This rising trend doesn't appear to be temporary either as more and more families continue to be hit hard by, what many economy experts have called the "Male Recession", where an estimated 82% of layoffs during the recession have been to men. Hopefully, layoffs are of course not the primary reason for more dads choosing to stay home and take care of their children, but it might speed up the trend.
In March 2011, new statistics on employment characteristics of US families by Bureau of Labor Statistics, revealed that in 2010, husbands were the only earners in about 20 percent of all marriages and wives in about 9 percent. In 70% of the families, both parents were working. That implies that Stay-at-home-moms are only twice as common as Stay-at-home-dads, something that reasently made the headlines.
However, looking deeper into the statistics, one table presents parents with children younger than six years. Here, there still a big difference. 95% of the men are defined as being in the labor force, but only 64% of the women. So a lot of women with young children are actually not in teh labor force at all - they are at home with their children. So while the stats show that men are not all that more common as the only earners in general, they also show that women to a much larger than men are the ones staying home with their kids over an extended amount of time in the US.
Nevertheless, Stay-At-Home Fathers are on the rise!
Influential Factors Behind The Rise In
Although economics is playing a huge role in this trend, there are a variety of other factors fueling the increase in stay-at-home dads.
- Many more women are returning to work shortly after giving birth.
- More and more women are the leading breadwinners in the household.
- Cost-cutting in the workplace has led to many employers offering more flexible working conditions allowing for more men to have the option of working from home.
- The necessity of having both men and women in the home earning an income through work.
- Traditional male/female roles in our society are changing. More couples today are comfortable with the idea of a stay-at-home father.
- According to the New York Times, men no longer dominate the labor market as in past generations. In fact, more women attend and graduate from college than ever before and at a more increasing rate than men.
A Fatherhood Awakening
Even with all of these influencing factors, one reason stands out among everything else in terms of why there are more stay-at-home dads than ever before: More dads want to stay home.
The National Center for Fathering calls today's increase in stay-at-home fathers a "Fatherhood Awakening".
The Center found evidence for this in their annual "Lifestyle Survey" showing today's generation of fathers has a stronger urge to be more involved in their role as parent. Most of this younger generation of fathers grew up in a much different era where having a present but distant father was more the norm.
Experts from the National Center for Fathering believe that rising expectations for men also plays a role. They cite the idea that it is no longer acceptable for fathers to be concerned with only in bringing home a paycheck. Today's father is expected to play a much more active parenting role. They are expected to be more involved, more attentive, and more nurturing to their children.
Not forgotten in this rising trend of the stay-at-home father is the rising amount of evidence showing the benefits an involved father has for children. Children with involved fathers, who may or may not be a stay-at-home dad as well, are healthier, have greater self-esteem and confidence, and are far less likely to get into trouble with drugs, delinquency, and other at-risk behaviors. For more information on the importance of father involvement, please read this earlier article I wrote on the topic.
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