By Robert L. Mues   |   October 17th, 2015

Pew Research Statistical Findings Show Fathers Taking Active Role In Home Life

fathers childrenKim Parker, Director of Social Trends Research at Pew Research Center, published a very interesting article on June 15, 2015, in their “Fact Tank” about the changing role of fatherhood in today’s society. Some of the statistical findings were surprising in my mind.

“Today, fathers who live with their children are taking a more active role  in caring for them and helping out around the house. And the ranks of stay-at-home fathers  and single fathers have grown significantly in recent decades. At the same time, more and more children are growing up without a father in the home ”, Parker said.

Here are 5 of the findings she made from reviewing the Pew Research Center reports:

  1. Fewer dads are their family’s sole breadwinner. Among married couples with children under age 18, dual-income households are now the dominant arrangement (60%). In 1960, only one-in-four of these households had two incomes; 70% had a father who worked and a mother who was at home with the kids.
  2. Roles of dads and moms are converging. In 1965, father’s time was heavily concentrated in their employment duties, while mothers spent more of their time on housework or childcare. Over the years, fathers have taken on more housework and child care duties—they’ve more than doubled time spent doing household chores and nearly tripled time spent with children since 1965. During this same period, women have increased their time doing paid work. While gaps do remain, the labor distribution between parents is becoming more equal.
  3. Balancing work-family life is a challenge for many working fathers. Working fathers are as likely as working mothers to say that they would prefer to be home with their children, but that they need to work because they need the income. Surprisingly,  48% of working fathers with kids under 18 say they’d prefer to be home while roughly the same share say, even though it takes them away from their family, they want to keep working. The statistics of working moms and working dads are quite similar when it comes to feeling rushed in their everyday lives.
  4. Dads say that while they spend at least as much time with their kids as their own fathers spent with them, they feel that it is not enough! In a 2012 Pew Research survey, 46% of fathers and 52% of mothers said they personally spend more time with their children than their own fathers and mothers spent with them. Nearly half of all fathers (46%) said they spend too little time with their kids. (Only 23% of mothers said the same).
  5. More fathers are staying at home to care for kids. Today, nearly 2 million dads (7% of U.S. fathers with children in their household) do not work outside the home.  Perhaps at first glance that figure doesn’t seem very high, but it is up from 4% in 1989.

In my 37 years of handling divorce matters, I do see this trend of father’s “stepping it up” to share much more equally the household chores and daily parenting responsibilities.  When my 2 sons were born in the 1980’s, these parenting roles and norms were quite different. No doubt today’s higher level of parental involvement by fathers in their children’s nurturing is in the kids best interests. I expect it will also benefit society in having many more emotionally healthy individuals!

More Info From Pew Research On Fathers Changing Role In Society

If you are not familiar with the Pew Research Fact Tank website, check it out at They publish very interesting articles about fathers and “numbers in the news.” It is a favorite of mine!

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Robert L. MuesAbout The Author: Robert L. Mues
Robert Mues is the managing partner of Dayton, Ohio, law firm, Holzfaster, Cecil, McKnight & Mues, and has received the highest rating from the Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review for Ethical Standards and Legal Ability. Mr. Mues is also a founding member of the "International Academy of Attorneys for Divorce over 50" blog.

Fathers: 5 Ways American Fatherhood is Changing
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