Increasing Numbers Of Men Opting To Be Stay-At-Home Dads

The number of fathers opting to stay home with their children is increasing, according to new findings by Pew Research. A study found that one in five stay-at-home parents are male, an increase of 7% since 1989. The number of stay-at-home parents, male or female, is around 18%, which has remained stable for three decades.

Jocelyn Wikle, assistant professor at Brigham Young University’s School of Family Life, said more fathers are opting to stay home mainly because of women’s earning power and because women are more likely to take home more cash than their husbands. “Women’s earning potential has risen considerably over this time as their educational attainment has steadily increased,” she said.

In 2022, statistics found that women now make up 35% of the highest-earning positions in the United States, and the US Census Bureau said in 2021 that women hold 53% of college degrees, compared to 47% for men.

Meanwhile, childcare costs have risen so fast that, according to the US Department of Labor, it is financially out of reach for many parents. Data from 47 states showed “childcare prices for a single child ranged from $4,810 for school-age home-based care in small counties to $15,417 for infant center-based care in very large counties.”

Given the cost of childcare and the often higher earning potential of women, stay-at-home dads are the best option for many families, according to the study. Discussions with dads also reveal that many want to spend more time with their children and find their jobs far less fulfilling. One father said he didn’t like his job and spent his time thinking of what he could do with his child instead.

The trend is not limited to the US, and figures from Britain show that the number of stay-at-home dads has tripled since before the outbreak of the Covid pandemic. The UK’s Office for National Statistics found that one in nine stay-at-home parents are now male, compared to one in fourteen in 2019.