While the number of stay-at-home parents in America has stayed fairly consistent for the last 25 years, there has been one significant change: the number of stay-at-home dads. Read on to see why more dads are staying home with the kids.
According to a new Pew Research Center analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, 18 percent of American parents—a whopping 11 million, to be precise—did not work outside the home in 2016. This amount was nearly the same in 1989 when 17 percent of Americans were stay-at-home parents. Although the total number is similar, what has changed is the percentage of dads that are staying at home for the sole reason of caring for kids.
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The percentage of stay-at-home dads has nearly doubled from just four percent in 1989 to seven percent in 2016. The rate of stay-at-home moms on the other hand has remained pretty consistent, with 28 percent of moms staying home to care for kids a quarter of a century ago, versus 27 percent now.
There have been some fluctuations in the number of stay-at-home parents over the years, with a significant rise in 2010 right after the Great Recession. However, that shift has more to do with economics and parents losing jobs instead of simply choosing to stay home with their kids.
While the increase in dads staying home can partially be explained by this economic factor, it’s not the only reason. Instead, it seems that more millennial dads are choosing to stay home versus Gen X dads, with double the amount of millennial dads staying home than Gen X-ers.