Are Stay at Home Dads Overhyped?

On behalf of Ronald H. Kauffman, P.A. posted in Timesharing/Visitation on Tuesday, October 1, 2013.

With the new alimony reform bill percolating in Tallahassee, there is talk of creating a legal presumption that child custody with children should be equal between moms and dads. There is a common perception that more dads are choosing childcare over careers. But is this a trend, a bubble, or drop in the pan?

According to the Census, the number of stay-at-home dads has more than doubled over the last decade and a half, from about 76,000 in 1994 to 189,000 as of last year.

So does that mean stay at home dads is a significant change?

Not really. Among all married couples with children under 15, only 0.8 percent includes a stay-at-home dad. And as the Atlantic reports, even that small percentage overstates the importance of the stay at home dad phenomena:

First, we’re living in the age of the single parent. More than half of births to women under 30 happen out of wedlock, and women disproportionately end up taking care of those children.

Second, even among two-parent households where women work, the percentage of men acting as the primary caregiver has actually declined slightly.

Third, as the Pew Survey notes, women in dual earner households spend 12 hours a week on childcare on average, compared to just 7 for men.

The rise of stay-at-home dads sounds good, but it may be a lot of hype:

A decade ago, you could pack every stay-at-home dad into the University of Michigan’s football stadium. Now, you’d just need Michigan and Ohio State’s.

Worse, over the last 15 years, men have collectively stopped taking on more child care giving responsibilities, not take on more of them.