Stay-at-Home Dad Numbers Are Increasing — Here’s Why

( – For most of us, today’s environment necessitates that both parents in a household work to support the home and its occupants. However, there is a small subset of the population where only one parent works, while the other remains at home to take care of the children and household chores. For the past several decades, the number of stay-at-home parents has remained consistent, for the most part, at around 18%. However, a recent survey showed that the dynamics are changing.

Stay-at-Home Dads on the Rise

When one thinks of a stay-at-home parent, they naturally gravitate towards the belief that it’s the mother who remains home. However, over the past few decades, that has shifted slightly, according to a Pew Research Center study.

According to the figures provided, over 32 years, between 1989 and 2021, the number of mothers who stayed home declined from 28% to 26%, while the number of fathers increased from 4% to 7%. That has resulted in a shift, with the number of stay-at-home dads increasing to 18% from 11% over the period.

The Reasoning

The reason for the number of stay-at-home dads increasing is varied. While 79% of mothers who didn’t work said they chose that option to take care of their home and/or family, that only rang true for 23% of men. Another 9% of mothers said disability was the reason they didn’t work, but that applies to 34% of men. That figure is down 12% from 1989. The other reasons fathers remained at home included being retired (13%), inability to find work (13%), and attending school (8%).

Women have also been experiencing gains in the job sector, leading to opportunities for increased pay and more prestigious jobs. For example, women comprise 35% of the top 10 professions in the United States, which include pharmacists, physicians, and lawyers. This is an increase of 22% since 1980, a drastic shift.

Journalists with The Hill spoke with several stay-at-home fathers about their decisions to do so. Several said that the reason they didn’t work was because their wives made more money because of the jobs they held, and both parents in the household wanted to have at least one stay home with the children. The skyrocketing costs of childcare certainly contribute to this mentality.

One particular father, 40-year-old Christ Braaten, said he wasn’t happy with his job and therefore, it was “a no brainer” to stay home with his two children while his wife worked. He said, “all [he] thought about all day was what could [he] be doing with [his] kid.”

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