6 Ways American Fathers Have Become More Like Mothers

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In recent decades, fathers have taken a more active role in their children's lives and around the house.

In recognition of Father’s Day on Sunday, the Pew Research Center culled facts about the American father and the ways in which his role has changed in recent decades.

The resulting facts paint the picture of a father who plays a more active role in his children’s lives and in his home.

It’s a role that has come to resemble that of mothers more than in the past. As Pew summarizes in its Fact Tank blog:

Significant gaps remain, but there is clearly a more equal distribution of labor between mothers and fathers these days.

The public has mixed views on how the role of the American father has changed, and on whether society is better off with more traditional or more modern father figures, according to Pew.

The changes include:

  1. Dads’ roles are converging with moms’ role: From 1965 to 2011, fathers nearly tripled the time they spent on child care and more than doubled the time they spent on housework.
  2. Fewer dads are sole breadwinners: From 1970 to 2015, the incidence of fathers as sole breadwinners among couples living with their children under age 18 decreased from 47 percent to 28 percent.
  3. Dads consider parenting central to their identity: “They are just as likely as moms to say that parenting is extremely important to their identity,” Pew writes.
  4. Dads are challenged by work-family balance: Pew found that 52 percent of working dads said work-life balance is very or somewhat difficult, and 29 percent said they “always feel rushed.” That compares with 60 percent and 37 percent of working mothers, respectively.
  5. Dads spend more time with their kids: Pew found that 46 percent of fathers said they spend more time with their kids than their own parents spent with them. Only 20 percent of dads said they spend less time with their kids than their own parents.
  6. More dads stay at home: As of 1989, 4 percent of fathers with children in their household did not work outside the home. By 2012, that grew to 7 percent — roughly 2 million dads.

What’s your take about how fatherhood has changed? Share your thoughts with us — leave a comment below or on our Facebook page.

Stacy Johnson

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