Chart of the Day: There are now 2 million stay-at-home dads in the US

According to a new Pew Research analysis, there are now about 2 million stay-at-home dads in the US — a figure that has has nearly doubled since 1989.

stay at home dad growth over timeLike their stay-at-home-mom counterparts, few of these dads are high-earners who are “opting out.” They’re more likely to poor and less educated. Most, in fact, aren’t choosing to stay home to care for their kids — the majority can’t find a job or have an illness or disability. The 21 percent who say they’re home to take care of family is way below the three-quarters of stay-at-home moms who say the same — though it’s definitely up from just 5 percent in 1989.

Overall, SAHDs make up a tiny 1 percent of all married couples with kids. SAHMs outnumber SAHDs by 100 to 1. In general, though men are spending more time on child care than ever before, mothers still do about twice as much. And there’s plenty of evidence that this gap persists thanks to structural barriers — not personal desires. About half of both working fathers and mothers said they would prefer to be at home raising their children, but they need to work because they need the income. (Ya don’t say!) Dads are twice as likely as moms to feel like they aren’t spending enough time with their kids. And roughly equal numbers of both genders say they’re stressed juggling work and family life.

I’ll say again say what I said about the growing number of stay-at-home moms: Very few people in this country have a real choice when it comes to how they balance work and family, and we need policy changes to fix that.

Maya DusenberyMaya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing.

St. Paul, MN

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director in charge of Editorial at Feministing. She is the author of the forthcoming book Doing Harm: The Truth About How Bad Medicine and Lazy Science Leave Women Dismissed, Misdiagnosed, and Sick (HarperOne, March 2018). She has been a fellow at Mother Jones magazine and a columnist at Pacific Standard. Before become a full-time writer, she worked at the National Institute for Reproductive Health. A Minnesota native, she received her B.A. from Carleton College in 2008.

Maya Dusenbery is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Editorial.

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